Years of sitting in padded pews,
dozing as different men 
screeched about all the ways

I could go to hell, 
forever condemned to burn in a lake of fire,
tormented by demons that were my own
and those I had nothing to do with.

Listening as men I trusted 
spewed vitriol disguised as Christian love

conspiring to buy us all
one-way tickets to paradise
as if it were something to be purchased.

Staring out the window,
watching the trees sway in the wind,
hoping that the emptiness that enveloped me

was just a sign of my own sinfulness
while the women organized events
and the children gleefully praised a god
they had no business believing in
The thump of the bible
resonated in my bones,
echoing my fear of death and burning,
sounding like the drums of the war
for my soul. 


Years of believing that the universe,
the stars, sun, and moon

we’re hung by a benevolent god
who only wanted the best 
for those willing to sell their souls to him
under the guise of holiness. 

Years later,
after I left those church doors 
barely clinging their hinges

like a baptist woman clutching her pearls
I found myself
in the way that the trees whisper to each other,
their leaves carrying messages 
of life loved without the interference
of a violent and selfish deity
in the way that water 
cleanses on its own
without the need of a blessing of man 

in the way

the stones from the earth,
wild in beauty and color,
posses a power uniquely their own
and need no permission from a god.

I am a witch. 
The daughter of women

burned and hung
by the very church
in whose pews
I used to pray.