6th place — Niamh Falter: I Won’t Go to Heaven (a poem)
FFRF awarded Niamh $500.
By Niamh Falter
I won’t go to heaven, that much is true
If there are pearly gates, then I’m not passing through
I’m devoted to sin, I have to admit it
I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I just can’t quit it.
According to Leviticus 19:11
I sinned my first time at the age of 7
While waiting in line at the grocery store
I suppose it is time to make my confession.
I spied an open pack of gum
Mum turned her back and I took one
I chewed it happily until
It dawned on me what I had done.
I’d foiled it then, my post-death plan
And never told a clergyman
Just sat in silence and decided
Sinning is where I was guided.
Then when I was just a teen
When my dad came in my room
And told me that I’d have to clean.
It was my room, that much I knew
No matter the dirt that you couldn’t see through
Disgusting, the must and the dust, it was mine!
And I muttered some choice words I thought were benign.
But little I knew, according to The Book
Those words that I said, the choices I took
They qualified me to be put to the death
(It was a small detail that I overlooked.)
And then, again, I gossiped about
My neighbor’s new haircut (just belted it out!)
And In high school, my friend told me that he was gay
Didn’t stop to consider
I said “That’s OK.”
Before we got married, it might not be clever,
But my husband and I
Broke commandments together.
And I’m guilty of sloth,
When I have my off days
I sit on the couch in a do-nothing haze.
I’ve lied, I’ve been jealous, eaten more than my share.
But it just doesn’t matter, I just shouldn’t care.
What use is a world of wonder and light
If you have to make sure you get everything right?
And it’s not at all easy, rules aren’t always good
They don’t love thy neighbor as much as they should.
They pick and they choose
Which rules you should follow
And some of their guidelines
Are quite hard to swallow.
Because I was born as a woman, it seems,
(as told by Timothy 2:11-14)
I “should learn in quietness and full submission”
And do what I’m told, and take what I’m given.
But no. I am happy that Joe married Jack. And creation by God is fiction not fact.
In schools we should pledge our allegiance to good
Not just living our life in ways God thinks we should.
People are people no matter the way
They choose how to love or choose how to pray
I’m a sinner, offender, an infidel
So you can have heaven, I’m going to hell.
Niamh, 24, is from Summerville, S.C., (although born in Nottingham, England) and attends Savannah College of Art and Design. She plans to major in photography after years of running her own photography business.