The Soul, The Catholic Theologian Argues [essay] by Susanne Paola Antonetta

The soul, the Catholic theologian argues, enters the body fourteen days after conception, because at that time the possibility of the child twinning has passed. The soul cannot split apart. It is not the atom, not fissionable; so anything you do to the little cell cluster that is the promise of a new human during that fourteen days is permissible. You can abort it, or Plan B it, or simply punch kick starve it out. The wary soul, fearful of cleaving, only waits.

Maybe at times a young or a puzzled soul enters the embryo too early, and the cells quiver themselves into two separate forms, the soul feeling like a paper torn in half down the middle along a crease scraped by the edge of a fingernail. Scant, thready like that at the edge.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This essay put the editors in mind of Sara Michas-Martin’s poem “To Know It Again.”]

Susanne Antonetta Paola has published nonfiction, A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World and Body Toxic, and poetry, most recently  The Lives of Saints. Grants and awards include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, Ken Johnson/Nami award, best book of the year listings by Spirituality and HealthScience and Spirit,, and Library Journal, a Pushcart, a finalist for poetry’s Lenore Marshall Award, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other agencies. Her new book, Make Me a Mother, is a memoir and study of adoption. Her novella, “Stolen Moments,” is currently out from Shebooks. She has coauthored the nonfiction writing handbook and textbook Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, with Brenda Miller. Susanne Antonetta Paola is deeply involved with VIDA, the feminist, grassroots organization representing women in the literary arts. Her website is


Image by surlygirl