Google suggests St. Rita of Cascia: saint of impossible cases, difficult marriages and parenthood, who as an infant was swarmed by white bees that flew in and out of her mouth, and she survived unharmed. Forced to marry at age 12, in spite of her wish to join a convent, she endured 24 years of abuse until her sons and husband died, then her wish to be consecrated was finally realized. Google also suggests St. Dymphna, daughter of King Damon, and saint of mental health afflictions, who in 7th century Ireland, escaped her father’s madness and set up a hospital in Belgium for the sick and impoverished. Her father found her, then killed her when she refused to marry him. When I was nine, our church choir director was convicted of raping his three daughters. When asked why, he supposedly answered: They are mine. I can do what I want with them. After that, on Sundays, I sat beside my mother and sister, stealing glances at his wife and children, in awe of them, searching for clues that might be useful to me. I ask Google: why do horrible things happen? and Google replies: we are often responsible. I ask Google, How do we survive here? An easier question is what wouldn’t you do to survive? Does God forgive everything? Yes. Is there a saint for those of us who wish that he didn’t?
Joan Kwon Glass is a biracial Korean American who grew up in Seoul, South Korea and in Michigan. She lives near New Haven, CT. Her poems have recently been published or are upcoming in Rust & Moth, Rattle, SWWIM, Rogue Agent, Sublunary Review, FEED, Ghost City Review, and many others. Her poem “Bathing Scene” was featured on the Saturday Poetry Series: Poetry as it Ought to Be, and her poem “Cartouche,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She tweets @joanpglass and you may read her previously published work at www.joankwonglass.com.