• Rebecca Branle

Heathen

Updated: Mar 15

Heathen


Dear Debra,

Dear Sheryl,

Dear Dane,

Dear Jane,

I’m just a little girl who tripped and fell in love

With the golden boy who loves God,

And isn’t it odd,

That you want to destroy me in His name?


I’m just a little girl

And all I want is love,

HIS love and his love and yours, too.

I’ll do what it takes, bend into shapes,

Just for a nod from you.


But my light is your fire.


Your hymn says to let it shine,

But for you it casts a devil’s glow,

You demand I let Him into my heart,

I try again and again and still you say no,

I did it wrong so you do me wrong and we need to let it go.


Because I’m just a little girl,

Once a chubby baby dressed in white,

Dipped in holy water under Trinity’s golden light.

The Baptism was wrong, you fight.

I’m still pure but I’ll never be quite right.


I want to be alright.


You spoiled your son and now I hold a gun,

Too weak to pull the trigger,

But as you pull him away from me,

His lies get bigger and bigger.

Stories of the heathen girl make him a sympathetic figure.


He lies, he cheats,

He films his deceits,

And yet the fault lies squarely with me.

The heathen girl from another world

Who wouldn’t let him be.


Why won’t you let me be?


I don’t have the courage to die,

But I don’t have the will to love myself either.

Debra’s words are Jesus’s words

And I’ll always be beneath her.

Does God believe her?

I believe her.


I believe the sight of me makes Him sick.

It makes Dane sick, too,

This heathen girl with begging eyes,

Loving me was the worst thing he could do.

So he closes his eyes and tells me more lies

And, eventually, we’re through.


I sit in the dark and I cry in the dark

And I dye my hair black and blue.

If I’m evil I’ll look evil

And I’ll make their claims ring true.

I’ll brand myself bad with a tattoo.


But the ink is no match for the mark made by Dane, by Debra and Sheryl and crazy-eyed Jane,

The ones who Jesus spoke through.

So I picked the men who’d cause the most pain,

And my pain only grew and grew.


I chose it because it was what I knew.


But now it’s decades later and I can’t hate her,

That hell-headed, heathen girl.

Somewhere inside I knew.

She knew.

That God’s love for her sweet soul was true.


So Debra and Sheryl and Dane and Jane…

Fuck you.

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