The Boarding House

My brain is a boarding house—Christian Scientist,
existentialist, atheist, Freudian, Jew, New Ager, 
and the Buddhist all have rooms.

At Sunday school, the Christian Scientist said
daily life was an illusion. By knowing
the Truth, I would dwell in a divine world.

In high school, I met the existentialist. Wanting
to be viewed as intellectual, I brought him home
and name-dropped Camus, Kierkegaard, and Sartre.

The atheist demanded space, moved in,
told me to stop kidding myself and face facts:
We live. We die.

When I went for therapy, the Freudian settled
in my cellar—he interpreted dreams, uncovered fears,
and recorded each resistance to his insights.

I invited the Jew to take a room. We listened to
klezmer, made matzo ball soup for Passover, 
and shared how we were still enslaved.

The New Ager knocked. I turned her away
until she said I could co-create my reality
and promote peace and enlightenment.

The Buddhist startled me with the reality 
of impermanence and suffering—I must
change my karma or come back as a caterpillar.

At a boarding house dinner, the atheist argues
with the New Ager, the Freudian declares, God is 
just an exalted father, the Jew recites a blessing, 

the Buddhist calls for silence, the existentialist laughs,
and the Christian Scientist says, I’m not here. 
I pass the potatoes and we eat. ❏

Jeanie Greensfelder is a poet in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Photo by Ivan Tejero


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