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  • The Body Is Not Ekphrastic
  • Allison Berry (bio)

One in four Americans lives within three milesof a toxic waste dump. The body asks how far is far enough.Self-immolation seems the only sane choice, the bodytransubstantiated to liquid fat, flamethe message and the messenger. Close your eyes.

What makes you angry? A person you’ve never metloading a gun, deliberately not thinking of you?Children remembering their unblemished bodies,their bodies unzippered? Close your eyes.Smell the sulfur on the water. All womenare a one in eight chance of breast cancer,the body a representation of risk,disease the message and the messenger.

The body loves anger more than living.You wouldn’t ask birds to stop flocking like fish,like choreographed machinery.Listen to the body. Violence is justified.The body wants to refuse breathand drink, think of ways to become a bomb.

Close your eyes: the body as ultrasonic image,fingerlike projections reach out to cup ducts,love as parasite, love as leaching.If bodies have souls, we know what cancer is eating.The body finds voice remembering the doctorcalling just to say, Your cells have breached the margins. [End Page 48]

Allison Berry

Allison Berry is working on her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a lecturer for the Women’s Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cow Creek Review and Little Balkans Review. She is also a contributor to the anthologies To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices (2012), and Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (2011). She lives in Joplin, Missouri, with her two children.



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