The Martyrdom of Saint Porcine
The saint is always depicted, like Saints
Catherine or John, with the machinery
of his martyrdom: splayed across an old
box-spring, astride a bed of glowing hickory
embers. His dark eyes, though piggy and small,
glisten with kindness.
His pale pink skin is unwrinkled and clean
and hasn’t yet found a brown enough hue
to match his humility; although the inevitable
is evident in the neatly stacked billets of cordwood,
the proximity of the damp mop and bucket of sanguine
sauce, the beads of moisture that freckle his small face,
indistinguishable from his tears.
The hills in the background are vaguely Italianate
and shimmer lightly in the distance. The air is illuminated
by curlicues of scented smoke and the jubilant forms
of tiny cherubs, announcing to the heavens, over and over,
the transfiguration of mere mortal flesh
into something approaching the divine.
“The Martyrdom of Saint Porcine” first appeared in The Oxford American, Issue 61, Summer 2008.