For this issue of writing from and about the body, we asked our contributors a question: What body are you part of? What’s one group, entity, larger being, place, or organism to which you belong? We got some stellar answers in reply. If you are among the body of readers who can’t abide it when a sentence ends with a preposition, we welcome you to read it as: Of what body are you part? And we welcome you to answer the question too. It’s one we’ll keep thinking about for a while.
—Anna Lena Phillips Bell
Yesterday I was wearing a big skirt and my three children decided to crawl under it, declaring me a “mommy tent.” I am someone who has never felt like I belonged in any group, and yet somehow I’ve become the head of a lumpy, giggly body—a body composed of three little bodies I made with my own body. My loneliness is overrun. There are bodies everywhere.
Lately I find myself taking up for this region I live in, this region sometimes called the South. I use its syntax—“taking up for.” I’m learning the names of its plants and trees, including the largest in my yard, a loblolly pine. These are the markers, for me, of working to make a place home, of working toward that state we call belonging.