John Nimmo


Imagine blackest ink that coats the radiant body that is yours. To see how your body flows,
say you desire it. You must say you desire it. And you would say that, over and over,

until it was true almost, and then true. You must love that mud, and find neither surprise
nor displeasure in the black mass that releases heat, destroys light, and surrounds

your whole self. Mud will encumber your chest, throttle your breath, and trammel
your arms, legs, hands, and toes to the point where, with steady force, if you move

so much as a thumb, the space, where your thumb was, becomes a vacuum
that sucks into itself what is near: the mud, and you. If you lie motionless

in that mud—mud that is wet as your body is wet, warm as your body is warm--
letting it shroud the lids of your eyes and sink your mind into dark, you will lose all sense

of quickening breeze, cloud-filled sky, and gurgle of sulfurous spring. And if
out of lucid stillness you are stirred, and you rise and look down,

you’ll see a dark absence in the black mud, an absence whose shape you are.

John Nimmo's poetry has appeared in Stirring, Rattle, Wisconsin Review, Sand Hill Review, Tattoo Highway, Convergence, and other publications. He has won a cash prize in the Foster City International Writers Contest. He has an active career as an environmental physicist, and lives with his wife Elsa in Mountain View, California. See his poetry website at

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