as the fluid fills the syringe
and i hover the needle over the tender skin
of my thigh
i think of you. and your thorny crown.
and the nails drilled into your feet, into
the bowed space between radius and ulna
and i drive
would that your skin
were my skin! that i could take
your pain into my bones, could somehow make
it mine, or at least share it!
– but you know
better than i could ever hope to know
that some things must be suffered all alone.
your Beloved could hold your hand until the men
shoved him away to lift you into the sky;
your mother could sob, and Magdalene shake her fist
at the pitiless soldier who stabbed your whip-riddled side
but only you, only you
only you would scream Eli! Eli
and all alone you would slip
into the cradle-void, the muffled womb
of Death –
to prove its grasp was weaker than your love;
to change the course of humankind for good.
the gasp i make when i push the plunger down
is pain with victory commingling
as i feel the fluid p u s h
i t s w a y i n t o
tissue and muscle –
flow in, and nestle, and
wait for the cells that somehow know
to carry it where it is meant to go.
deep in those cells, a sea-salt wind is blowing:
a sea-change rolls across those helix shores
uncoiling them and weaving them back together
a little different than they were before.
deep in the tomb, your body sprawls unmoving
and lovers keen outside it, unaware
of changes being made at levels deeper
than cells or DNA or the secrets there.
for often it is pain,
be it bitter, be it sweet,
that brings about sea-change:
pierced thigh, pierced side, pierced feet.
If you this piece it in your own service, please credit it to Avery Arden and link to binarybreakingworship.com. I also invite you to email me at email@example.com to let me know you’re using it!
About this poem: I believe this one mostly speaks for itself – I happened to have my every-other-weekly testosterone (self-)injection scheduled for Good Friday a couple years back, and wrote this poem after. I see so much similarity in the transitions (physical, spiritual, emotional, all) that trans and/or nonbinary people journey along and the kinds of transitions that God-becoming-human and God-dying-and-rising-again underwent. Here is to all my trans people of faith: we are beloved by God and experience special insight into divinity.