the museum of americana

a literary review

the benediction of Our Lady of Hyperglycemia — Poetry by Irène Mathieu

 
there are a lot of things they
don’t teach you in Catholic school.

for instance, is there such a thing
as overdosing on prayer?

does martyrdom become a health hazard
at any point before knives are involved?

how can we feel the quiet current
of Too Much in our capillaries

and root it out before fossilizing
in sugar silt?

if we distill our blood will we
be considered for beatification?

and isn’t the fork a way
to worship, too?

my grandpa is a down South
Catholic. on Christmas, he said,

they used to drink and box.
he said they used to ride into the fields

and suck juice from sugarcane
were always full of gumbo

pecan pies, pound cake, hog’s head cheese
blood sausage, red beans and rice, half-shell oysters

wouldn’t dream of spilling a sweet sauce drop.
this is the way it was done in New Orleans,

the most Catholic city north of the Gulf.
when you die, thick-blooded,

you will die full of tastes and walk through
the door to the Holy Trinity simmering in pork fat.

there are things you could eat
or sacrifice, and someone would name

you a saint on account of either one.
 

~  ~  ~

MathieuIrène Mathieu is a writer and medical student at Vanderbilt University. Before medical school she studied International Relations at the College of William and Mary and completed a Fulbright Fellowship in the Dominican Republic. Irène’s poetry, prose, and photography have been published or are forthcoming in The Caribbean Writer, the Lindenwood Review, Muzzle Magazine, qarrtsiluni, Extract(s), So to Speak, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Love Insha’Allah, Los Angeles Review, Callaloo Journal, HEArt Journal, and elsewhere. She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and a Callaloo fellow. Her poetry chapbook the galaxy of origins was published in 2014 by dancing girl press. You can read her blog and follow her on Twitter.