Maps of Injury122
Maps of Injury122
Maps of Injury tracks territory from the body to heredity, Southwestern country roads to horse-mottled pastures, and the kitchen sink to the well outside the house from which it is fed as these poems contemplate a woman’s autonomy within her landscape. Here is a wife, daughter, and horsewoman coming to terms with chronic illness and the lingering effects of a previous abusive marriage. The injury mapped across this narrative inspires endearment for creatures bridled, companioned, or left by the roadside to die. Hammons shows us how love looks with every poetic line she worries into a body’s history even after it’s gone. A suffering horse is coaxed into its grave and there breathes its last before earth covers it. An unidentified body is found in a field where people come to examine and perhaps claim it as the speaker considers her own worth. It is a worth seemingly altered by an ill body which has been coarsely examined by doctors, by loved ones, by strangers, and in relation to the women in the speaker’s past who dealt with terminal diseases. She wonders: who will remember her after she dies? How will her attachments be memorialized? Will future generations, at seeing how a body lies in a grave and what sickness still eats at the bones, know that she was wanted? Animals both wild and domestic alight and fade into these questions and the landscapes that consume them. Here the body’s sovereignty is considered within the relationships that interpret it from the outside—relationships that the woman understands, in all of their imposition and dismissal, are also evidence that she has been loved.
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