A special place

To celebrate the day of its harrowing, and because the phrase came up again just the other day …


No, there should not be 
a special place in hell. 
Isn’t hell itself, 
after all, 
superlative?
As such, 
to disappoint Dante,
it should have no layers,
no geological strata 
of special and ordinary places; 
otherwise
hell might as well be 
on earth as in eternity.

Which brings us, neatly,
to the spiritual,
if you will, 
in which 
we should not be 
hoping or praying,
creating in our minds carved-out 
corners for the torment of sinners
we like the least, 
but wringing our hearts 
for their conversion, 
burning our souls’ midnight oil 
for their redemption, 
pitching our forks into manure,
and piling on the stench of mercy.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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