Home > Poetry > The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha
Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha

The knife forgets my body. Somewhere in a field
_                                                                   _it rots in the hand

that held it. I was buried tasting
_                                                             _the earth. I was buried
_                                                                                           _with each breast cut off.

I carried them—each a bright bell, a pink bloom. A pearl

of dust, my ruined chest. Imagine—a mouth
_                                                            _ filled with desire and I would

not open. My legs, my body,
_                              _shut. How the iron hooks dug
_                                                            _my skin and pulled me

_               _toward every window. The wooden
_                               _horse, my strapped wrists. Still, bone

on bone, refusing. Then the knife. My flesh
_                                             _spooled in its rusted light.

My breasts held up like loaves of bread, like two
_                                                                             _cakes that stopped rising.

Amanda Auchter is editor of Pebble Lake Review and author of _Light Under Skin _(Finishing Line Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in 32 poems, AGNI Online, The Iowa Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. (updated 6/2010)

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