The body becomes a cage in a world that encages it


Jesus, this is hard:
to wash the body and feed the body,
to dress the body,
to keep the body serviceable,
to walk the body around
so it can wash and feed and dress other beings' bodies.

It feels terrible to say it out loud.
No one should behave
as though they are owed anything by chance of birth.
No one should complain that they have a body to navigate,
that they can navigate.
Haven't I said this all before in high school diaries?

I close my eyes to recall this body:

I felt the water hush and glide
before the surface broke,
before my toes had curled over the rough dock
while I still lay wrapped
in wool war blankets that scratched my skin
and considered how tired soldiers must have been,
before I pushed off the wood
through the air,
the first flight before the next,
cold morning air
blue and crisp skimming
along the near-black lakewater,
my skin pimpled
to receive the wet stroke
fish call air.

The body becomes a cage
in a world that encages it.
The body becomes a cage in a world that encages it.

And so I navigate this again,
even in this small bathtub I trace out my planet
with a fine-tuned finger,
find the old documents we drew up at 9, 13, 16, 21.
Those old boundaries don't account for daily rebirths,
they don't take into account the heartbreak of aught seven
or the great disappearance following the shame of aught nine.
The maps were never redrawn after the Exodus and the Return,
the proper addenda never appended.
My paperwork, to say the least, has been shoddy.

But here I trace it out.
The body's work will be mine again.

I am publishing a post every day in November for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).