Ode to My Zero Body in the Marvelous Real

by heidi andrea restrepo rhodes
Those who do not believe in saints cannot cure themselves with the miracle of saints.
Alejo Carpentier, "On the Marvelous Real in America" (1949)

The invention of the body is a terrifying card of faith
an invalid mysticism, but those who believe

it is a separate wonder aching on its own accord
will seek to cure themselves of the blur.

My lycanthropic lover howling at the moon
an unpredictable vexation caught cyclic:

she eats her own heart, regenerates out of wound,
eats her own heart again. She is her own predator and prey.

But these are not unusual occurrences. Neither 
are the seconds I stand where Joan of Arc prayed,

hearing voices in my right ear, a calm to the tempests
of anxiety. Only as nothing can I effect the blur’s alterations

upon the dimension of us. My zero body a perpetual variance.
An appositional wild subverting modernity. Immeasurable flesh

without miracle. And what is miracle without the imperative
to cure? That we exist, in this moment, this spacetime possible.

To call you my heart, taste magnolias, follow the crows
to their message. To stumble through the secrets of dusty archives.

To be another solar system’s exoplanet, circling a distant star
still only conjecture, the unexpected life-form, substance

of terrifying visions. Speculations and ponderings. And what
is belief, anyway? A consolidation of sculpted hypotheses?

The justification of ritual? We do not need such things
as the body in order to be real. Being no body, I am

(not) beholden to the unrelenting procedures of absence-
perception and property. Being as I am and not, irreducible,

an unconsecrated concomitance of residues and cosmic
arrangements. All these subdivisions, sums of facts: illusions of form.

About the author

heidi andrea restrepo rhodes (she/her) is a queer, sick/disabled, brown/Colombian, poet, scholar, educator, and cultural worker. Her poetry collection, The Inheritance of Haunting (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019) won the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. She wants to swim with you in the raucous and joyful possibilities of crip poetics and abolition dreams.

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