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.