Chelsea Pinson

Unbuckling My Bible Belt

I belong to this land and its people,
Their voices thick and honey-sweet tripping
Over themselves to assure me that they
Bless my heart, that they
Love the sinner, they just
Hate the sin.

My roots burrow deep down
Into the soil, and I, as tall
As a redbud tree, and as angry
As a whole nest of hornets,
I meet their eyes every time,
And I never see God.

But I have seen God.
I have been God.
I am God and God is me and
We are who we are, and they
Have forgotten us, have remade us
In their own image
Of holier than thou and hate.

I belong here because this is where
I learned who I was, because this is where
I grew through lemon coolers and
Porch swings and Tastee Freez and
My father’s voice and my mother’s hands,
And this is where I discovered
How to be and how not to be.
I belong here because I’ve never belonged
Anywhere else.

But my heart does not long for
These hills or these valleys,
For these rivers or these redbud trees,
For the majesty of this land
Or the benevolent rage of these people.
My heart longs for greener pastures,
For cleaner air, untainted
By the fog of disingenuous Southern charm
That blankets me here.
My heart longs for a place where I can
Stretch out, take up all the space
I need, a place where I
Can exist free and clear and unencumbered
By judgment.

I am my mother’s daughter
And my father’s offspring, and I carry them
Deep in my bones, but I
Have the capacity to carry entire worlds.
I have the capacity to create entire worlds,
And I will never settle
Until I have fulfilled my potential.
I will make for myself a place
Of safety, a place of love,
A place of dancing and a place
Of indulgence.
They could not take God from me,
Because God is me,
And I am with me wherever I go.

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Chelsea Pinson is a totally blind lesbian living in Oklahoma, in a rickety old house with her best friend and 3 bad cats. She loves fairy tales and folklore, horror and thrillers, and, when not consuming or creating the written word, can often be found wherever there are birds, water, and sunshine. She has previously been published in Corvid Queen. Mastodon -- Instagram -- Blue Sky