Eulogy for the Body

Issue #12.2: New Topographies of the Body

Now we are gathered for a final mapping, a corpus navigation from pole to pole, charting the terrain of a life.

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Now we are gathered for a final mapping,

a corpus navigation from pole to pole,

charting the terrain of a life.

Setting sail from the sole of the foot

that island, an arching Antarctica, that has us both anchored and airborne.

We eddy at its edges, that small dance of the axis emanating from this ice shelf.

The tidal pull of tendon pushes us upward and outward

amid the flotsam of fascia, the currents of the capillaries, the vascular vortex.

We round bony capes, process past peninsulas,

tracking the telemetry of the greater trochanter.

We cruise the length of the lymphatic,

feel the push and pulmonary of the ellipsoid equator

We traverse the transverse abdominals,

inhabit the thoracic, accost the intercostals.

Breathe in this muscular mountain range,

exhale across that derma of desert,

give your skeleton a sternum talking to.

This is a Viking journey northward to the glacier of grey matter to navigate the neurons.

It is all coming to a head and losing itself

an Atlantic crossing becomes a Pacific disappearance

(a change of Earhart)

and the busy bossy brain wants to intervene, explain, complain, hold on, fight back calculate, fabricate, summarise, legitimize, eulogise.

What if, instead,

we see—our head is the heavens, our many faces the myriad of planets,

our thoughts as shooting stars

we feel—the ecstasy of evolution, a morphing multiplicity, a singular summation,

a succinct sweet striving

Then we could round the cape collateral

and feel the intoxication of falling and rolling

a sensual recall of the odyssey of our architecture

cradling another’s head

beads of sweat running down your back

the drop in temperature as you cycle through the parklands

the heady smell of jasmine that swivels your gaze in search of it

the dance of shadows on the wall

a bell,           a chord,           a squeal,            a sigh

that day we spent an hour with our eyes closed moving across the forest floor

or walking backwards on the beach

or letting the landscape blur past us on the train

…returning home.

Image: Stills from video animations, “Cabin Fever” by Dianne Reid