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Saint Agatha in the Psych Ward 

by Caitlin Irish

TW// blood, death, sexual assault

Given the choice of defilement or faith, Saint Agatha chose 

her Lord. She took great courage and never wavered 

in the face of persecution. 


              Before the judge, I am told 

              to obey, take my rightful place 

              on my knees. 

              Tears falling steady, my fingertips shake 

              as I stiffen my spine in defiance. 

              This is my sentence for loving my God. 

              He does not come to my rescue.


One of the tortures she endured was the excision 

of her breasts. Still, she did not lose her faith, only growing 



              The barren skin where my breasts used to be 

              clings to this hospital gown. 

              The nurses give me non-slip socks. 

              It is more than He ever sent.


She is one of many virgins named 

in the Canon of the Mass.


              They hallowed my months 

              of arduous torture, made pastries 

              of my womanhood. 

              Paintings of the moment I see in my nightmares 

              hang in every cathedral. 

              We all know my pain means nothing to no one 

              as long as my hymen is intact. 


Though the date is unknown, she is thought to have died 

in 251 AD.


              I was only a child. 

                     You allowed this to happen. 

              This is not what I thought love to be. 


Saint Agatha, pray for us.


              Do not send me your prayers.

              Do not call me a martyr. 

              I did not want to die. 

Caitlin is a newly graduated psych nurse with a passion for mental health and wellness. She has previously been published in Renaissance Review, OC87 Recovery Diaries, and Auxocardia Journal. In her free time, she can be found reading, querying her first novel, and playing with her pet hedgehog, Bobbin.

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