God’s Response to Being Asked: What’s Your Preferred Pronoun?

by Mary Ellen Talley

Multicolor Hot Air Balloons in the Sky

Imagine that awkward moment when mortals arrive
at my pearly gates only to find I am neither XX nor XY.
I’m tired of being called He, or at times She this century.

Don’t call me It as I’m no inanimate object. I’m frustrated
when the newly dead stand yammering-stammering greetings.
Some straight-faced, even ask me, “Where is your white beard?”

I lose patience at that and chide them: I’m not Santa Claus.
Why have humans been so certain of my almighty gender
in tomes and elixirs of prayer after prayer? It’s tiresome.

But recently I’ve been overhearing better words
as savvy humans, mostly youth, embrace gender options
because they’re propelled to delve into their questions.

I acclaim, proclaim, I aim to join in with their pronouns.
Could change take hold if I pounce – announce in a hip-hop rant:
I exist, persist, neither optimist, pessimist, nor lexicologist.

Neither matriarch nor patriarch. Murky words get on my nerves.
Will I need another stone tablet to make my suggestion stick
as folks attempt to mend semantic habits in today’s languages?

Thanks for asking. Feel free to forward my wish to the populace.
The repair of earthly lexicon is a worthy quest. Please
use and reuse until my pronoun becomes the Zeitgeist.


Mary Ellen Talley
Mary Ellen Talley’s poems have recently been published in Banshee, Beir Bua, The Plague Papers, Ekphrastic Review, and in the anthologies, Chrysanthemum, and Raven Chronicles Take a Stand Art Against Hate. Her poems have received three Pushcart nominations and her chapbook, Postcards from the Lilac City was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020.


  1. I would affirm God’s “they/them” signature at the end of this letter.
    Years ago in graduate school, when taking a course in the Hebrew language of the Bible, we were assigned to translate the creation account in Genesis 1. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth…”
    I was surprised to see that the Hebrew word translated as “God” is actually Elohim–which is the plural form for El (“God”). So the plural form for the Creator God–they/them–is used throughout Genesis 1!

  2. When I pray, sometimes I humorously ask God to “forgive them for they know not what they do”, what they say — referring to generations upon generations calling God “He, Him, Father”. I enjoy calling God “She, Her, Mother”, but I laugh as I know that’s not quite right either. “They, them” sounds most appropriate.
    Thanks for this thoughtful and fun poem.


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