Some Questions For The Body by Larissa Pham
SOME QUESTIONS FOR THE BODY:
What’s a body? Who has one? Who gets to have one? Who gets to see yours? What makes a body? What breaks the body? What’s inside the body, what happens when a body enters another body, what happens when a body wants to enter another body and forces its way in? How does the body cope? What can we put inside a body, can we put sedatives and uppers and downers and sugar and caffeine and alcohol and sex and fear, can we fill the body up? And does it stop?
What can the body contain—can it keep a secret? Can it keep mine? Can it keep yours?
What can we do to the body until it no longer becomes a body, or are we doomed to forever be in our bodies without escape? How can we leave the body? Can we binge drink with the body, can we dance with the body, can we feed pills to the body, can we get high with the body, can we rave all night on a boat with the body the moon shimmering across the water and the lights purple and red can we dance till the body throws up over and over in the bathroom with the small white octagonal tiles in the apartment of the boyfriend who will break up with the body two weeks later and hold the body as it cries? Why does the body still paw at the body of the boyfriend even now why does the body still want to be loved and sexed and fed why does the body keep holding on? Why does the body keep waking up crying? Will it stop? Does the body know that one day it stops?
Can we navigate with the body? Can we make decisions for the body, because we know better, because we know more and have suffered more profoundly than the body can comprehend? Or are we making excuses? Does the body already know? Has it already been keeping track? Can we gamble with the body, can we bargain with the body, can we beg it, asking it please, stay, stay, more, please? Can we ask it to say no, to deny, deny, deny, can we block the body off from its own desire? What doesn’t the body want? What doesn’t the body need? Is the body even listening?
Where does the body go when the body is asleep?
Does the body dream? Does the body plot revenge? Does the body ever lie? Does the body know how it looks, does the body know how it tastes, does the body run its hands over itself in a dark room and think, How can I possibly exist? Does the body flinch at mirrors? Does the body stand in front of them, lingering, cupping the body’s left breast in its hand, watching the nipple rise and stand up hard like a rosehip? Does the body ever think about how the body’s whole life has been a series of small accretions, a list of minute traumas that collect like dew on the edge of a blade of grass? Does the body quiver when it remembers? Does the body have trouble when it tries to sleep?
How does the body know? How does the body carry on? How does the body wake up, groggy, wipe the sleep from its eyes, blink blearily at the sun, how does the body rise and rise again to that business of being alive, of being a body, how does the body manage being a body in the alive world? In the visible world? In the meaning and feeling and hurting world?
How does the body keep going?
How do we care for the body? How do we love the body? How do we pick up the body, dust it off, kiss it, wash it, feed it, how do we romance the body, remind it that it was always ours, that we’ve always loved it, that we are bound to it as it is to us? How do we reassure the body as we return to the body, as we always return to the body, as rivers return to the sea? Can we dance with the body again? Can we slow dance with the the body, all night, holding it sweetly, like the first and last thing we’ve ever loved, all alone, in a room with the lights turned low?