I Visit the Museum and Make It About Me – Nina Parmenter

I Visit the Museum and Make It About Me

I stand by a stone sarcophagus 
roughly the length of my femur 
and I decide I have lived too long. I flinch 
at arrowheads drawn from the river
which are pinned to the wall in a swarm.
Those barbs make my ribs burn and itch.
I gag at a Roman choker
which is twisted too tightly to fit
my neck. So why make it? I pause 
by the handaxes lumped in a case
and lick at my palms like a cat
to test for the flint’s cold taste. I gape
at the gaggle of stone-age flutes
holed and scraped clean of their marrow.
Still, it may mean there’s use for my bones –
well, except for my busted elbow.

Nina Parmenter’s first collection ‘Split, Twist, Apocalypse’ will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2022. Her poetry has appeared in journals including SnakeskinHonest Ulsterman, Light, Allegro Poetry and Ink Sweat and Tears. She lives in Wiltshire. Twitter: @ninaparmenter. Website: www.ninaparmenter.com  Facebook: @parmenterpoetry

Skipper – Nina Parmenter

Skipper

He lives half-sunk
in estuary mud,
cresting the ooze
like a masthead,
deep-flocked, bleached and brackish,
ringed by sinking spoil.

He can look to a shore 
shadowed by gulls,
to water ghosted with flounder,
squish in the lace of nematodes,
ride the flick
of bloodworm tongues.

Body to mud to body,
this, surely, is all a man needs:
warm toes,
the thwok of the swarf,
the hope
of fossilisation.

Nina Parmenter’s first collection ‘Split, Twist, Apocalypse’ will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2022. Her poetry has appeared in journals including SnakeskinHonest Ulsterman, Light, Allegro Poetry and Ink Sweat and Tears. She lives in Wiltshire. Twitter: @ninaparmenter. Website: www.ninaparmenter.com  Facebook: @parmenterpoetry

Leftover Casserole – Nina Parmenter

Leftover Casserole

As the schedule decreed, I had  
leftover casserole for lunch. 
I de-tubbed it sloppily and warmed it, 
smelling yesterday 
and the day before.

But even in the first greyish forkful,  
the paprika had deepened, 
the mushrooms had infused, 
the meat had relaxed and softened. 
My mouth thought it was all new.

When you came home, I kissed you,  
noticing that you were more peppery 
than when you left. 
Later, over goulash, you pulled a new face 
and I laughed.

Nina Parmenter has appeared in journals including Ink, Sweat & Tears, Snakeskin, Light, Better Than Starbucks and The Lyric. She was highly commended in the 2021 Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize, and is a Forward Prize nominee. She lives in Wiltshire. Twitter: @ninaparmenter Facebook: @parmenterpoetry Website: ninaparmenter.com

A Spell for Motherhood – Nina Parmenter

A Spell for Motherhood

Take a mountain. Scale the pink-arsed flanks of it,  
limb over limb. Find Poseidon. Extract from him a wave 
and a horse’s hoof. Pluck a tree; kill the grip of it 
by showing it your thoughts. Make your peace with the grave. 
Eat apples, all of them. Taste in them the sin 
of being a woman. Let that smack you in the gut, 
you deserve it. Straddle the equator. Suck up its spin, 
take it with you; feel your body snapping shut. 
Learn to count each breath as an act of sedition. 
Pull the lungs from a sleeping leopard. Be a speck. 
Be a planet. Be a long-dead apparition.  
Stuff a storm into your patch pocket, huge and wet, 
but tell no one. Invent two new ways of sucking  
a heart from a blown glass moon. Find a man. Fuck him.

Nina Parmenter has appeared in journals including Ink, Sweat & Tears, Snakeskin, Light, Better Than Starbucks and The Lyric. She was highly commended in the 2021 Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize, and is a Forward Prize nominee. She lives in Wiltshire. Twitter: @ninaparmenter Facebook: @parmenterpoetry Website: ninaparmenter.com