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who put bella in the wych elm tree? by Natalie D.C.

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

it was me // so take me back to a cool winter’s eve spent playing hide-&-seek with a Nazi spy // a far cry from the 5-foot-nothing fairy who shrouds bella’s legacy // oh, how pretty she seems with her // mustard-yellow blouse & trousers // & a shoe size smaller than a pixie’s // so pardon me for wanting to // wring her body dry // & lay her out to die // in a shrub so fittingly named // a seedling sprouted into a wicked thing indeed.

(or maybe bella’s me // a candy apple rotten to the core // with a picture-perfect description to beat // how lovely it is to meet me // the one responsible for the air-raid-lesbionage-conspiracies that so haunt my afterliving dreams // the corpse curled up in a curlicued half-dead tree // with skin & bones that nobody but the centipedes can call home.

behind the poem

This piece was inspired by a Buzzfeed Unsolved episode about the mystery of Bella in the Wych Elm Tree. The story charmed me and I decided to write a quick poem from the perspective of the perpetrator. You can find more pieces like this on my writing Instagram account @nataliedc.docx.


Natalie D.C. (she/her) is a 19-year-old artist and writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her writing grapples with her erratic mental health and paradoxical queer half-Moroccan identity. She has been published in the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, Rune, The Echo, and Pile Press. When she isn’t busy working towards her BA in Public & Professional Writing, you can usually find her re-reading her favorite book over and over, watching K-dramas with her little sister or filling her walls with anything and everything that makes her smile. Her debut poetry chapbook, blue pearl, is available for purchase from Bottlecap Press.


Centipede by Wilsen


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