LORD

written on 23 October 2020 by Joann Renee Boswell

Art by Nat Iwata

with every utterance
of that word p i e r c i n g
my ears, sharp and heavy,
I must physically heave
shoulders U P under that weight

balanced there, pause— i n h a l e ,
hold him uncomfortable,
unwieldy — unconscious to all
else while he rousts, bloody
bluebird failing at innocence

suffer its history: s t r u t t i n g
neglect, improper ordering of human
dignity and decaying other-deprecation,
seek any Light remaining in this language...
finding none, finally e x h a l e —

throw back shoulder boulder
let it r o l l down my back.
as this is Sunday morning,
            brace for the next wave.
hope to hear some Good between

it is not this way for all,
some let it f l u t t e r overhead
or welcome the crashing wash
as this title crafts their countenance,
            they revel in the alteration

I do not have to s t a y ,
but perhaps I am stronger
through this particular practice,
power in mindful non-participation
character chiseled by discomfort


As I have gotten older, I've progressed further from the language of my childhood, choosing words that better suit my understanding and hopes of theology.

As I have gotten older, I've progressed further from the language of my childhood, choosing words that better suit my understanding and hopes of theology. I am doing what I can to heal my relationship with the Divine by refusing to use male pronouns. I sometimes use female language, or gender neutral language. But I most prefer to use words that speak to positivity, and create a whole new canvas for God / Godde. Words like Light and Hope. As I do this work for myself, I become more triggered when old, thoughtless language appears at church services and other places.

But I most prefer to use words that speak to positivity, and create a whole new canvas for God... Words like Light and Hope.

This happens most often during the music portion at church services, and while other people are praying out loud. A word that continues to stick out to me is "Lord". This word is not only a male word, but it also implies a hierarchy that comes out of slavery and serfdom. It places the hearer as a servant, a slave, a worthless creature. My Quaker faith speaks of human dignity, of our inherent worth. So I wince every time the word "Lord" shows up on Sunday morning. If you sit next to me you might hear me sing "Love" as a replacement word.

My Quaker faith speaks of human dignity, of our inherent worth...you might hear me sing "Love" as a replacement word.