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Nina Parmenter



the poet

Nina Parmenter is a poet and working mum from Wiltshire. Her debut collection, Split, Twist, Apocalypse, was published in 2022. Nina's work has appeared in journals that include Magma, Raceme, Honest Ulsterman, Obsessed with Pipework, Atrium and Ink Sweat & Tears, and has also been nominated for both The Forward Prizes and The Pushcart Prize. Nina describes herself as easy to manipulate – but only if you're a dog. 

the poems


00:00 / 01:09

                        A celandine went first,

                        and if we had ever looked, we would have known

                        it was a freeze-frame of a live firework,

                        we would have expected

                        the violence that sparked from the inside out,

                        the heat petalling sweetly,

                        each stamen springing a hellmouth.

                        A rose caught,

                        thorns spitting pop-pop-pop from the stem,

                        the leaves crisping, and as an afterthought,

                        the buds, like charged kisses,

                        lipped the flames to ragwort and vetch.

                        An oxeye daisy burst,

                        white-hot in its eagerness.

                        We dialled nine-nine-nine,

                        but our words fell lifelessly away,

                        and as day bloomed into evening time,

                        the honeysuckle, its lashes

                        glowing in the last light of the sun,

                        tipped a long wink to Venus

                        and blew like an H-bomb.

Where Does Darkness
Come From?

00:00 / 00:47

                        The bee is a soft eclipse 

                        at the heart of a clematis, 

                        the noon lighting a constellation

                        on each cluster of his fur, 

                        and the bee suspects 

                        it is he who brings the darkness,

                        but he knows it like the catacombs of his hive 

                        and feels no remorse. 

                        Imagine a sweetness you would die for. 

                        Imagine shunning the sun 

                        even as it brightens the space 

                        you leave behind. 

                        Imagine your honey-drunk mind 

                        willing you into the umbra. 

                        Imagine the sugar stars 


The Conversation
We Don’t Have

00:00 / 01:09

                        The headache, I realise, is a clenched jaw. 

                        I tense up, release, 

                        stick my tongue out, waggle it, 

                        roll my head 

                        so determinedly 

                        that a conversation falls out, 

                        pink and slippery. 

                        It has been hiding behind my uvula. 

                        Close inspection reveals 

                        that it is self-contained, 


                        high fat, low sugar, 

                        terrifyingly fresh. 

                        And although my stomach aches 

                        at the meat of it, 

                        I reach out a finger. 





                        It tenses. Darkens. 

                        Grows somewhat huger. 

                        Along its flank, eyes appear. 

                        It stares. 

                        Angrily, I scoop it up, 

                        and stuff it back down my throat. 

                        I relock my jaw

                        and head out. 

Publishing credits

Blooming: Split, Twist, Apocalypse

  (Indigo Dreams Publishing)

Where Does Darkness Come From? /

  The Conversation We Don’t have:

  exclusive first publication by iamb

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