I come to the church in the silence of night.
To pour fourth my soul,
To hope that One can set it right.
Reaching for the water, exorcised and blessed,
as I cross myself I wonder if there is anything holy in this mess.
Bare feet gently caress the smooth tile beneath,
their pitter-patter a prayer for the grace I've come to seek.
The empty pews stand in neat little lines,
their wood grains resounding with the echoes of time.
As I come to the crossing, that space in between;
I fall to my knees and look back at what's been.
I look into myself,
at this broken mess.
And wonder why they tell me it's special.
How can they say that I'm blessed?
I'm told you made me wonderful.
Worthy of love, so they say.
Then why do I feel like a monster,
surrounded by decay.
I look in the mirror and a creature stares back.
A Frankenstein of oppression,
created to hate all that I've been given.
Transphobia and heterosexism,
these were the first that I named.
Then fat-phobia and ableism soon staked their claim.
God what the Fuck!?!?
Reflection turns to prayer.
I offer no pretty praises or gentle invocation,
for I have no spoons left for polite conversation.
All I ever wanted
Was to be your little girl.
But I was a boy,
But I was a girl.
I was never shown how to live as both in one.
When I spoke the name you gave me,
I was told that it was wrong
Those who call me beloved,
speak of their brothers and sisters so dear.
But I've always been different,
not that they could hear.
So many times I've tried to convince myself that their phrases must be right.
"Everything will be alright"
But the actions are dissonant, creating a lie
"you're loved when you conform"
"give it time"
From my knees I stare up
at your crucified form.
I ponder your scars,
as I reach for my own.
To love is to die,
to live is to be buried.
You told this to your people,
but the message didn't carry.
Again and again your body here on earth,
Asks people like me to prove what we're worth.
The words of self-love have become lost in delusion,
and all of myself is again trapped in confusion.
All I long for is to know that I'll be held no matter what
To be certain I belong,
even if the truth I tell is later judged wrong.
I am a part of this body and I'm crying out in pain.
Where are you Lord? Can you heal me again?
How many times must I come to these halls?
To kneel and to weep and to name all that all that befalls
How many times must I question this gift?
Must I always be received as a burden to lift?
Child I love you
The words cut through the night,
Not spoken aloud,
but echoing through my bones, my thoughts, my soul
resounding and setting all aright.
A warmth floods through me,
as pressure settles in.
A warm blanket, a hug,
for a moment I'm held as I always should have been.
Child I love you.
I wish that I could make everything alright.
More than anything I long for my people to see the brightness of your light.
I taught you to love,
Not because I delight in your pain,
but because the love I've given you is at the heart of who I am.
You don't know how to lie, because I AM the truth.
I've made you wonderful, amazing, and loved in every way.
Each part of you a treasure, to share as you may.
You were never meant to be broken,
to be shattered into parts.
Forever matching this piece to that place,
and always hiding those things that aren't deemed fit for the race.
I created you as a miraculous whole,
a remarkable being of rainbow delights.
Unbound and unafraid,
a diamond of radiant light.
When their words prove false,
here is my invitation.
Take shelter in my Word,
let my pain and my scars become your holy meditation.
For in them I love you.
And this is how I care
I'll never erase the marks of your pain.
But I choose to share them,
And to claim you again.
Child, I love you
From before time began
I've made you wonderful and complete as both a woman and a man
Context Note: This piece is from 2015.
Copyright © Ari Leigh 2019