Notes on the National Body

The flesh of the body is the nation.
Nations build bodies, build boundaries.
The flesh of the body is the nation.

The nation is betrayed by the flesh
of the body. The nation says this
is the national body. The bodies outside

the boundaries are not the national
bodies nor are the bodies on the boundaries
of nations. The flesh of the body is the marker.

Enclose the foreign bodies. The bodies
made foreign by your enclosure. This
is the flesh, this foreign body.

You may not claim a nation. A nation
claims you based on the body: thus I am of this nation,
my grandfather, not of this body of a nation.

Nor the body of his nation born, his body
the hybrid body. Ejected by nation and nation.
The liminal body. Escapes the boundaries

by water, the fluid body. Bounded by nations.
The flesh of the body is the nation.
The nation is the body made flesh.

*

Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of the poetry collection Little Murders Everywhere (Salmon, 2012), a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and her poems have appeared in Guernica, The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief  of the online magazine Memorious and an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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