How Darkness Enters a Body // 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) » available in our shop

(This is a chapbook of ekphrastic poems. No photos appear in this chapbook, but if you want to check out the visual inspiration for this poetry, there are a number of luscious books on Arbus’ life & photos.)



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 art

Cover Artist: E. L. Trouvelot, “Total eclipse of the sun. Observed July 29, 1878, at Creston, Wyoming Territory,” from the New York Public Library’s Rare Book Division.

The cover is inkjet printed on matte paper, hand-trimmed & bound-by-hand. It measures approximately 6 x 5.25 inches.

other books

Dreamland for Keeps (Porkbelly Press, 2018)
She May Be a Saint
(Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2017)
Edie (Whispering): Poems from Grey Gardens (Dancing Girl Press, 2015)