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[83] T h o ughts o n S t. A gatha For Marcy Target of a Roman consul’s lust, she would not submit, not even when the rack stretched her taut as a sailor’s knot. Faith intact, virgin foolish for her God, she could only look to heaven (Tiepolo would capture it, that lifting up of eyes) when the blade sliced through each breast. Legend has it Peter sent an angel to restore the severed flesh, a miracle that galled her pagan hosts. Enraged, they rolled her naked body over heated stones, then tossed her back to die, unwanted catch, on a litter. She is invoked for cure of cysts, suspicious lumps, papillomas. Early paintings of the saint show a plate, two mounds the faithful took for loaves. Thus began the church’s custom of blessing bread on Agatha’s feast. Priestess of laughter, Marcy [84] would see the humor in this mistaking what a bra holds up for bread. She too faced zealots with knives. Dealt a double blow, mastectomies, she joked after surgery “I’m flat as a flapper!” Ordered chicken breast on the first anniversary. Those mornings she’d like to wake up whole, Marcy hugs both children to her chest like an amputee who swears the sawed off limb exists. It was here and here they nursed, her rack not only the stab of absent flesh but also fear she’ll be dismissed before their lives unfold. No Agatha with eyes raised skyward to a better world, Marcy focuses on this one, on Jacob’s stubby fingers guiding a yellow crayon to make a sun. On Rachel’s perfect feet skimming the carpet in a dance optimistic as a wine glass raised “Lechayim!” ...


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Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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