Within These Walls

Stone ruins with tree
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

My soul and being are caught in a constant battle

Where I’m fighting for my right to love

A right preached about as good

Preached about as holy

Preached about as precious

But denied to me and my lover

Sitting within these walls

In pews we listen to the pastor

Preaching of the commandments

Condemning those who disobey

Predicating a future of fire and turmoil

In this I’m reminded of the commandment of love

How it is the “greatest of these”

Yet mine is banished and forbidden

Forgotten within these walls

I fear this fire and burning may be my fate

What if my end comes before I can preach the commandments?

With my love being at the center

Lifted as welcome and holy

Instead of being stomped on

Like the remnants of a flame being put out

Extinguished within these walls

My queerly beloved heart

Which encapsulates immense amounts of passion

Immense amounts of fire

Immense amounts of beauty

Wishes to unravel the systems that tell me I’m dirty

Wishes to flip the script

To be seen within these walls

To show those who have been hurt

From the commandments targeted at them

Like arrows

Notched in a bow and fired from a distance

That these commandments can be their bandage

Their medicinal touch

Their soul’s restoration

Their salvation within these walls

We can become holy

We can become worthy

We can become valued

We can become loved

We can become Children

We can find community

We can find a Savior

We can feel renewal

We can feel welcomed

Even as we remain queer

Queer within these walls

Justis Mitchell

Justis Mitchell is a first-year student at Duke Divinity School.

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