Catrice Woodbury


They said they wouldn’t take me
because I was gay.
Or rather,
my pastor said they wouldn’t.
And you did not come
from a place of malice,
only pure caring and honesty.
No working in
youth ministry for me.
A red B emblazoned on my chest -
BISEXUAL. Do not touch.
Is this what it looks like,
gay Christianity?

I felt like a witch in a Puritan town.
cloaked in my robe,
cloaked in moonlight,
they’ll burn me on the pyre,
will you
stand and watch?
I think not,
but sometimes I worry.

I felt the five stages of grief
but now I’m in the stage of anger,
now I want to burn our
sanctuary to the ground,
spray paint the steeple,
let everyone know there ain’t no rest
for the wicked.
With every crown
comes the guillotine.


I remember when my neighbor saw
our female dogs licking each other’s faces
and he said “now, none of that gay shit.”
Now my neighbor’s looking at me
like he wants to know
what my pussy tastes like.
I will defend myself this time,
become Wonder Woman,
the bracelets of submission,
because I will not submit to you,

or your cisgender, heteronormative,
white, patriarchal,
toxic as hell standards.

I want there to be a heaven.
I want there to be something more,
something greater
but when I cry out,
all I hear is echo.

You asked me how I felt
after you spoke.
I said I felt limited,
I felt like people thought maybe
my sexuality was somehow contagious,
like the plague,
like run for the hills,
here comes the gays.
I felt disappointed
I felt like I didn’t belong
and you kept reiterating that I did,
but still,
it felt like nails in my palms
because this thing will always
be my cross to bear.
I said I wanted to touch
the fucking sky,
feel infinite.
I said I wanted to feel


Catrice Woodbury is originally from Worcester, MA and recently relocated to Charlotte, NC. Her debut spoken word album is called The Patron Saint of Eating in Bed. When she’s not writing, she’s typically reading YA fantasy books or playing with her dog.