13 Psaltery & Lyre: Dayna Patterson, “I Wear Pants to Church”


I Wear Pants to Church

                                               “[L]et me see thee in thy woman’s weeds.”
                                                —Duke Orsino,
Twelfth Night


For women,
this isn’t allowed.
If I were my brother,
no one would notice.

I’m breaking the rules,
the rules that say
God only wants worship
from women in skirts.

6 days a week
no one cares what I wear,
but at church in the chapel,
I’m a crossdresser.

I wish an authority,
one of the elders,
would speak up and say,
Wear what you will!

It must be that God
gets confused and can’t tell if this
congregant is a man or a woman
because of the pants.

It’s probably been a millennia
since his last eye check.
No doubt he’s grown

God doesn’t know
whether to give bigger boobs,
or the winning goal
and just enough chip dip.

God is unsure. Bless
the unfruitful womb? Cure
testicular cancer?
It’s those damn pants!

I don’t sport blue jeans
or khakis with holes.
On the Sabbath,
it’s sleek black slacks.

They’re perfect to kneel
and scoop up a child
whose snotty nose
needs tissue.

They don’t trip me when I stand
after gathering train tracks
on the nursery floor.

Yet the eyes of church-goers
scan my attire. They mouth
. I know God
squints down on us all.



Dayna Patterson is a part-time snarky feminist, a lover of  Shakespeare, and a Diet Coke addict. She is also Poetry Editor for Psaltery & Lyre. For submission guidelines, see the P&L Submissions Page.