Belonging

written on 26 March 2021 by Joann Renee Boswell

Art by Benjamin Hollway

we thrash —
toddlers spilling
emotions like warm
milk flung from sippy cups


splashing walls,
painting the floor
with slippery ennui.
outside the steeple stretches,


elegant Goddess
draping our tantrum
with patience.
She smiles,


door-mouth wide
swallowing each ultimatum.
we waltz in, clutching
precious sorting boxes


and label makers.
so tiny, we are
kittens lapping confusion
onto pink tongues. the mingled


flavors don’t make sense.
we want to separate
sacred contradictions.
I am one


with the three
year-old crying
“I am not a number!”
I struggle to fit


my shape wants more space.
She was a tree
before we made her church.
in silence she learned


the nature of things. now
She stands witness
to our similarities spreading
thick like constellations


spiraling our DNA,
all of us. Earthlings too focused
picking out differences
like bad apples.


She cradles us
Sunday morning
time-out turns nap
we all become

c o l l e c t i v e .

"This poem paints an image of all of our various theological beliefs within the same church building, and how I struggle to feel like I fit in. I can see others feeling the same way. It's about how labels are unhelpful, because we're all the same underneath, all made of the stars." -Joann Renee Boswell