In certain folktales, she appears with Mary,
pierced through with the scissors and needles
of girls who worked, forbidden, on Sundays.
She is marred with knives, and scarred
with scythes wielded disobediently.
I imagine Christ’s gentle hands, healing
his battered Saint, pulling nails from her flesh,
gauzing over the wounded, bleeding breast.
As when I lay on a gurney before surgery,
my eyes fixed on the nurse’s crucifix.
As long as I could watch Christ’s hanging body,
I was calm; and in that brief and conditional
courage, God came and erased fear’s bruises
from my neck and stayed with me, who wept.