By Andrea Gibson
Imagine when a human dies, the soul misses the body, actually grieves the loss of its hands and all they could hold, misses the throat closing shy reading out loud on the first day of school. Imagine the soul misses the stubbed toe, the loose tooth, the funny bone. The soul still asks, ‘Why does the funny bone do that? It’s just weird.’
Imagine the soul misses the thirsty garden cheeks watered by grief, misses how the body could sleep through a dream. What else can sleep through a dream? What else can laugh? What else can wrinkle the smile’s autograph? Imagine the soul misses each fallen eyelash waiting to be a wish, misses the wrist screaming away the blade.
The soul misses the lisp, the stutter, the limp. The soul misses the holy bruise, blue from that army of blood rushing to the wound’s side.
When a human dies, the soul searches the universe for something blushing, something shaking in the cold, something that scars, sweeps the universe for patience worn thin, the last nerve fighting for its life, the voice box aching to be heard.
The soul misses the way the body would hold another body and not be two bodies, but one pleading God doubled in grace. The soul misses how the mind told the body, ‘You have fallen from grace,’ and the body said, ‘Erase every scripture that doesn’t have a pulse.’ There isn’t a single page in the Bible that can wince, that can clumsy, that can freckle, that can hunger
Imagine the soul misses hunger, emptiness, rage. The fist that was never taught to curl curled, the teeth that were never taught to clench clenched, the body that was never taught to make love made love like a hungry ghost digging its way out of the grave.
The soul misses the unforever of old age, the skin that no longer fits. The soul misses every single day the body was sick, the now it forced, the here it built from the fever. Fever is how the body prays, how it burns and begs for another average day. The soul misses the legs creaking up the stairs, misses the fear that climbed up the vocal cords to curse the wheelchair. The soul misses what the body could not let go.
What else could hold on so tightly to everything? What else could hear the chain of a swing set and fall to its knees? What else could touch a screen door and taste lemonade? What else could come back from a war and not come back, but still try to live, still try to lullaby?
When a human dies, the soul moves through the universe trying to describe how a body trembles when it’s lost, softens when it’s safe, how a wound would heal given nothing but time.
Do you understand? Nothing in space can imagine it. No comet, no nebula, no ray of light can fathom the landscape of awe, the heat of shame, the fingertips pulling the first gray hair and throwing it away. ‘I can’t imagine it,’ the stars say. ‘Tell us again about goosebumps. Tell us again about pain.”