Read Poetry: Original Sin, by Deng

On Sundays, people kneel in pews hollow.
Each prays silently carrying the weight
of their sins, hoping to be made hallow.

I left the tracks I was meant to follow.
If anyone asks, it was all their hate,
all their words that made religion hollow.

Nobody knows for certain; I wallow
That grey space twixt hell and heaven- my fate.
I face the choice to be damned or hallow.

Dangerous desire is a shadow
that will taunt a father’s righteous irate.
This fear has made a daughter’s love hollow

I find myself drowning in the shallow
of my thoughts; I usurped the Godly fate
Of a future marriage to be hallow.

There is no hope to escape the gallow;
I know the judgment of God and men wait
for me. Seeking love in law is hollow.

Denying the truth brings only sorrow,
Yet I can’t stop the tantalizing bait
of safety in the intimate hollow.
My selfish desire makes all hallow.

Note: The poem “A Hollow Hallow” is a villanelle written in iambic pentameter detailing the struggles that I have reconciling my sexuality with my Christian upbringing. In the church it people disagree whether gay people can be saved, hence, “I wallow that grey space twixt hell and heaven- my fate.”. In the fourth stanza, I talk about being driven away from my biological father because of his emotional abuse and my heavenly father because of his laws. Marriage in this poem symbolizes the union between Christ and the church and heteronormative relationships. Many churches preach a mixture of discipline with love, but as part of the LGBTQ+ community, I have found that “Seeking love in law is hollow”. Lastly, I am caught between the safety in denying my sexuality or denying what the Bible says about homosexuality. However, it concludes, whatever I choose, it is “My selfish desire makes all hallow”.

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