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Saint Cecilia, the Incorrupt

by Amanda Auchter

“The mortal remains were found incorrupt in the same position in which the Saint had died almost
1500 years before.”
                                       —The Incorruptibles

I died with my back to death. A room
full of poison. My roped hands. No window,

but stone walls. A man with a key
each hour, disappointed.
For three days, I spoke

into the floor. On the last, a sword-
swing, strike of silver light. I tasted
the blood before I saw it. It filled

the hollow of my throat. I died

looking into the earth. A mist
that rose with little sound. My body
that would not grow

back into moss and ash, my refusal
of rot. The orchid milk on my lips,

the mourners that took my yellowed veil,
my bloodied dress. I have seen
the way a fly will land on a body

and carry off its relic. I’ve imagined myself
this way—bit of bone, blood,

eyelash. A mouth
with my hair inside. Nest of my knots,
roots of my teeth.

Three fingers and one pointed away.


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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