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The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha

by Amanda Auchter

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). She is the recipient of the 2005 Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Prize from Harpur Palate and the 2005 James Wright Poetry Award from Mid-American Review. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in 32 Poems, Born Magazine, Columbia Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. (10/2006)

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