John A. Nieves


All along, there was something in the water
wriggling, longer than a memory, but shorter
than a story: a many-humped menace whose

head never broke the surface. The news
called it monster, or serpent, or creature. We
called it guilt. The restless lake, in which she

drank deep and dove, being restless. The flesh
glinted green against the burgundy waves. Rest
was never in the cards for this town after

she went down, after we hung her name from rafters
at the funeral home because there was no body.
The lake never gave her up, so it’s no wonder we

imagine something awful beneath, there is something
awful beneath: tattered clothes, teeth, a voice gone missing.

John A. Nieves

has contributed to 32 Poems, Southern Review, Copper Nickel, Poetry Northwest, and other journals. His first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Judge’s Prize. He is an assistant professor at Salisbury University.