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). 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)