Jan 132010

by Paul Hostovsky

Remember that friend of yours who said

she had a spiritual awakening and then

ended up in a psych ward? Didn’t you say she was

quoting Roethke when they took her away:

“What can the spirit believe—it takes in the whole

body.” Whatever happened to her, anyway?

Didn’t you say she showed up at your house

before work that morning, her face radiant

and tan in the middle of January, her eyes

dilated like she was high or had just been

to the ophthalmologist, so when she told you

she thought she’d seen the Light you believed her?

I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. No, I’m not

having a spiritual awakening or anything—

I don’t want to end up at McLeans, although I might

be in some pretty prestigious company up there.

But those lines from Roethke, the spirit taking in

the body… I mean doesn’t the body take in

the spirit? I mean isn’t the soul supposed to be

inside? Ok, tell me what she said to you exactly

when you opened the front door that morning with your

coffee in your hand, and found her there glowing like

Moses on the threshold. You invited her in, right?

But she just kept looking around at the trees, smiling—

Yes, it is important. Because I think she may have

been onto something. Because I’ve been thinking

about Roethke and those lines, and if the soul isn’t

in the body—but the body is in the soul—well,

just think for a moment about the ramifications.

Think what it would mean, historically, I mean,

if the spirit weren’t within; if all this time the body

were actually in the spirit. Well, I think it’s obvious—

It means the world is a dream we’re all having fast asleep

in Heaven. I mean look at the trees. Look at the branches.