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‘Body’ by Shirley Camia​​

— Philippe Pamela Dungao

How does one map out the body in writing? It is both a metaphor and a meditation. The skin laid out in front of you feels exposed, vulnerable, begetting perhaps the most intimate of exchanges. In Shirley Camia’s ‘Body,’ published in the most recent issue of TAYO literary magazine, the body is analogized as a landscape, comparable to “an atlas” sprawled on a bed. We’re called in to gaze by the speaker. To linger in the details. To explore all the parts that makes a whole resonant of Camia’s own poetics—terse, minimal, sparse.

As she traces the “archipelago of bones” and the “ridges and valleys / of sunken flesh,” Camia’s poetry signals to a body rooted with the earth. An organic being, grounded. If Camia’s poetry revels in the body as object, the danger in exotifying the body is disrupted by an enjambment: “still.” Still—a pause, a breath. We’re reminded of what lies beneath the sheets—a surface, beyond and underneath the skin—a beating heart. Ever so human, ever so alive.