heaven’s gate has always been blocked to me.
not quite adam, not quite eve; the serpent’s amalgamation of the two.
i have disobeyed, they tell me, what He made me to be.
under His steeple i was trained
never show too much skin, but be sure to accent your femininity.
do not aspire to positions of power. it is not your birthright to lead.
follow behind your husband. attend to your numerous children.
do not question anything.
remember, they croon, His word is never wrong.
but did they know then, that to accept this version of me would be my death?
if i was made in His image, why did they punish me so?
i am not the soft, pliable young woman. and i am not the serene wife.
i am not the comforting nurse of a mother to her newborn.
i will never be their demure, feminine creature.
i am my own creation.
i will gladly be His mistake. i accept the mantle of heretic,
of sexual deviant, of a disgusting outsider. if this is to be my fate,
then i reach to claim my title.
because i am learning how to be myself for the first time.
i realize now, i have never needed the punishing hand.
i have parted ways with the constant guilt and expectations.
in His absence, i found myself.
i am my own religion, my own salvation.
Fletcher Kirkwood is a butch lesbian, Detroit-area local, and current Michigan State undergraduate in geology, with aspirations in paleontology. This is his first literature publication (and with any luck, not the last). When not voluntarily selling their soul to the Natural Sciences department, Fletcher enjoys amateur photography, music, and general tomfoolery with the loveable bunch of goofballs they call their friends.