How Darkness Enters a Body
by Sarah Nichols
“In this darkness, desire is safe,” begins the title poem for Sarah Nichols’ How Darkness Enters a Body. In this darkness, desire is safe. There are secrets here, confessions. The poet brings us to the photos of Diane Arbus, inspecting contact sheets and images, mining poems from silver embedded in emulsion. Black and white photographs transformed into ekphrastic lines, light and shadow, poet leading reader to artist to begin a conversation. The speaker’s voice is sure, whispering to us in the way Arbus’ images do, pools of darkness unexpected and edged, like shadows thrown under an eclipse. Confront her or take her hand—these and more choices are yours: “Here is your tongue, sister. / Let me share it.” (Porkbelly Press, 2018)
SOMETHING WAS THERE AND NO LONGER IS
After Inadvertent Double Exposure of a Self Portrait and
Images of Times Square, NYC, 1957, by Diane Arbus
I haunt this place now. Under the
neon, I pass between worlds. The
spirit photograph no one wants to
I catch my subjects so easily: the
woman, poised before the next cigarette,
almost recognizes herself in the
snare of my lens. Or the crowd,
thinking themselves safe in the light
of the next dime show miracle.
I don’t dare to shut my eyes.
ABOUT THE POET
Sarah Nichols lives and writes in Connecticut. She is the author of three chapbooks, including She May Be a Saint (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016) and Edie (Whispering): Poems from Gray Gardens (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). She also co-edits Thank You for Swallowing, an online journal of feminist protest poetry. Her poetry and essays have also appeared and are forthcoming in Queen of Cups, The RS 500, Rogue Agent, and Ekphrastic Review.
ABOUT THE COVER
E. L. Trouvelot's “Total eclipse of the sun. Observed July 29, 1878, at Creston, Wyoming Territory" is featured on this cover. It's from the New York Public Library’s Rare Book Division.
Speaking of Marvels — Sarah discusses things including art, obsessions, & her path to becoming a writer.
Sarah's essay, "Word & Image: On Writing How Darkness Enters a Body," examines her inspiration in crafting much of this micro chapbook in one day, after several sessions spent examining the life & work of Diane Arbus via books checked out from various libraries. (via at Long Exposure)