Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

By Einalia

This poem originally appeared on Einalia’s Hearth

I was raised with the rage of a righteous man
The walls of my childhood
Painted colors of distance
Hues of abandonment and fury
Exasperation and bitterness
Shelved next to the bible

I was raised with the resentment of a distant man
Irate at the audacity of the world
To happen to him
How dare we all
Nothing fit into what he had in mind
The boxes, binaries, black and white finite

I was raised with the anger of a holy man
Talk of overturned tables
In the temple, of righting wrongs
Permission to become a moving minefield
and burn shadow shapes of the cross in his wake

I was raised with the faith of a dangerous man
there is nothing so wholly destructive
As a man convinced god wants him angry
Daring to name me worthless, sinful, lost
As if he knew what grieves the heart of god

I was raised with the certainty of a fearful man
Dogma lifted, a shield against the Mystery
Never searching beyond what made him powerful
Walls of belief to keep him safe
from being wrong, from doubt
from maybes
Joining hands on a sword
with his god of absolutes

Maybe god is a woman
She’s tired of being talked over
Maybe all these righteous men
with their righteous rage
would pale at the sight of god
full-breasted, flowing hair
belly swelling
Blood and water and life
dripping from between her legs
Birthing universes and magic
Maybe these men want to forget
they came into this life
through the straining and sweating
the feral wrenching unbridled energy
of a woman.

Maybe god is a black woman
and she sees how you stand
on the backs of women of color
comfortable with your feet on their throats
at ease with their strangled silence.

Maybe god is queer
and they see how you seek
to wrench the divine
from the chests of trans people
and raise walls where
there should be acceptance.

Maybe taking god’s name in vain
means telling someone they can’t touch Her
they can’t sit in the holy Silence
and feel the Divine thrumming
in their heartbeat, no matter who they love,
under their skin, no matter the color,
Telling someone they’re cut off,
a branch dead on the ground,
because someone long ago
wrote their human scars
as divine word and law.

Maybe god doesn’t need to be invited
They are already there
and we must remember
the road further in
instead of the one to power

But does oppression taste good when
you’re the one drinking?
The blood in the cup
isn’t Jesus’,
it’s drained from the veins
of the immigrant, the poor, the feminine,
the brown, the black, the child,
the vulnerable.

And you lift the cup – absolved
As red stains your teeth
You rise
certain that your straight white male
upper middle class Jesus
pats your shoulder and smiles at you
for keeping out the unworthy.

god’s design, you say
as you step on the fingers of those
grasping the edges of safety.

you look god in the eye
and decide for Her
the kind of box She will live in.
Paint over her ebony expanses
Binding canyons of magic
in eggshell or cream
Stitch her mouth closed
Slice away her breasts
Cut her hair
Wipe her tears

And rise, certain you know
She cries for the lost

Look her in the eyes
and know she weeps for you
Know she mourns
for the hearts you crushed
when you said She wouldn’t love them
Know she cannot be bound
She cannot be silenced
She is in everything
She is everything
She whispers instead of screaming
the warrior cry you created
She rumbles
and you fear Her
because she is all you have tried
to label
to limit
to squeeze into binaries
to erase
She is nuances
grey liminal spaces
She is what you can’t define
or cage
or name
And that terrifies
because She is part of you.

*Love this essay? Buy me a coffee. It’s like a tip jar for our writers.*

Einalia is an exvangelical pagan who writes the blog “Einalia’s Hearth” in order to stay sane while deconstructing a lifetime of missionary/pastor’s kid Christianity and co-managing a household of three feral tiny humans with a long-suffering and much-loved spouse. She loves the first shock of cold ocean water on her toes, the way garlic smells when it’s cooking, and pomegranate trees. Most days, she’s finding excuses to go outside, wading through homeschooling, and watching the sky for hawks. You can find Einalia’s blog at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s