The Cartography of Flesh

If we took the time to realize that we are
cartographers of our own small worlds,
we might just see our bodies as the
landscape we archive, sometimes
haphazardly, sometimes with purpose.
We might realize that the straits and
canals we navigate run along veins,
pump through arteries, stimulate muscles
to motion, set the reproductive system
alight and, in the most stimulating
circumstances, rouse the sympathetic
system to make its choices: fight or flight.
We might begin to notice the many
small islands that lie hidden within our
waterways—small oases and inlets—that
are guilty of little more than being too
damned obvious. It is the lighthouse of
discovery, though—the pulsating light—
the curious search for more—that opens
up the waterways and connects these
vast countries that are nothing without
the others. So take note of the lighted
land that lies before you, the water that
lies behind you. Document the roads that
connect the landscape of your flesh.
Become your own cartographer by
notation: a Darwinian observer. If you
imagine the earth from the moon, from
Mars, from another solar system—
you’ll know exactly what I mean. Then
and only then
will the geologists/archaeologists/lovers safely
record/uncover/navigate your lands.
After all, this is the story of a girl and
her map: one body drawn inside the
watery world of centuries.

– Andrea Witkze Slot


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