Camille Newsom


Calves simmer in buttery bellies of heifers.
Fresh lambs wobble first steps on frozen ground.
Drinkers freeze, cow pies steam
then set, guinea fowl learn to ski

on snowed roofs. Nothing
is monotonous. Day after day
our eyes grow chapped, our grit
turns sore and gloopy,

the metronome of cold and colder,
of breath and death, of an invisible
yet frosty ebb and flow, steals
our attention from the practice

of loving this plagued place.
We pray for the tractor to start,
bathing in sounds from throaty sows,
of ewes requesting apples and hay,

of hens protecting eggs,
icicles snapping, bulls craving,
to the sounds of the oldest music.

Serving Time

This is what death looks like. How we want to live
in a country that loves us back. We need

to live in a country that spoons us like sand,
always forgiving the body’s form.
And those silly moments of love when fresh bodies mold.

Love, too, rots the body.
So many single people in cars
and loneliness. Countless lonely people

in weapons on wheels. So, today I swallow
your scalp’s ridges and introduce
you to my cereal-to-milk ratio

and all flavors of silence settled
on the lake. Peace blankets the body.
We unfold on the sand, and tangle

our bones in this home for all species:
pelicans, people, mosquitos, and all the leftover shells.

What is there
but great silence, waiting,
and serving time in the body
before returning home.

In Defense of Death

Dead animals
thunder the compost pile,
warm with straw, steaming.

You, too, trying to stitch
abstinence to death,
will be bit in the ass by
a hospital of dolls.

In your silk nightgown,
back buckled over your late child’s quilt,
you’ll flirt with peace of mind,
as if craving cake,

flaunting noise like a tractor’s open throttle.
You see, we all live in this labile kingdom
of fatigue and lingering encounters.
And we, who truly want

it, the corked closing, will get our happy
thing, smiling at the red lights and
all the delicate, plagued voices.

Notes on Compost

Femur, ulna, shaggy wing, rolls of wool, shattered horn, whole skull in all its pieces.

How we rot and roost in circles, the always living, suddenly dead. I don’t know my purpose

but I know how I want to go. Dump my body in compost. My liver, substrate for mushrooms

in summer. Let my flesh sculpt shelters for suffocated piggies, And my bones, souvenirs

for wind, deer, and all small children, exploring.

CAMILLE NEWSOM is a livestock farmer in Western Michigan. In her poems she observes our living and dying world through humor, grief, and a sprinkling of spite. Her first chapbook is This Suffering and Scrumptious World (Galileo Press, 2023). Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in, Dunes Review, Main Street Rag, MAYDAY, and others.

Read more by Camille Newsom

Author’s Substack
Poem in Terrain
Poem in Atlas and Alice