Church Dresses by Hannah Sawyerr Baltimore Youth Poet Laureate

Some Sunday mornings
I find it in me
To find my best dress
And wear it
To church, just for God that morning
My favorite church dress is the prettiest dress I own
It is perfect for dancing
When I twirl
It dances with me
Like a choirs voice
And a believers hand
It lifts all around me
Filling the entire room
We praise the same God this morning
Girls know God through the first man they look up to
God to girls is the first man that appears God-like
Man told me to continue to wear dresses
To make his job easier
The linger of his fingers
Made my whole entire body fold
Like question mark
How did you become the God I wore dresses for?
And like my body
Even my pen folds in submission
This is not a metaphor—
It took me over one year
To write one single poem about you
And I still feel like I need your permission
Just to talk about you some days
At least one of us understands the concept of consent
And I still bear the blame
Like cross some days
I still wear denial
Even better than my prettiest of dresses some days
But this aint no Shakespearean
My vagina aint no tragedy
I will not end in disaster
I am learning, like demons
You must call abusers by name
Man’s name was not God
Man’s name is molester
Molester preys on vulnerable
I was once vulnerable
I am still vulnerable
Like oak, I will grow out of vulnerable
But man will always be molester
I have built an entire empire within my own body
And it belongs to nobody other than I
Molester once tried to build his home here
Molester does not reside here any longer
He can take back his rib
My name is not Eve
I am one woman wonder
Wonder woman
I am woman
Woman is weak sometimes
Woman still wallows in a pillow stuffed with tears some nights
Woman needs reassurance sometimes
Woman now paints her own story
Woman will water color stroke her blues away
Woman’s words carry weight
Woman gets weary sometimes
Women knows that pain will come back some days
Knock on the door of her heart some days
Disguise itself, wide-eyed intruder
Behind the back of progress some days
But that’s okay
Because it only reminds woman that she is human
***
She is finding God these days
Wears dresses for nobody but her God and self these days
And if woman ever feels like dancing again
She’ll find her best dress
And wear it
Not necessarily to church
But always just for God this morning
And she will dance
Dress lifted
Like choirs voice
Like believers hand
Praising one God this morning

Sofia Snow