(all references are to actual domains of St. Karen)

Blessed St. Karen, pay attention please, listen up for once. Intercede for me. Let me be seen as not-that-Karen. Too long I prayed to my birthday saint, St. Pantaleon, patron saint of bread and bakers. Forgive me. I mistook his easy workings for your enlivening spirit. He gets the cakes and loaves, but it is you who fosters the rise of dough, who protects the yeast bringing breath to leaven. Saint of cleansing, saint of catharsis, shield me from getting cleaned out, selling low and buying high. Better, absolve me of the other violations, the ones I did not commit, the sins that make girls prey to what others’ sins enact, however much they seek to purify themselves afterwards.

Grant me clean hands and pointy elbows. Grant me a devoted dry cleaner who doesn’t slice off the buttons. Show favor to me and my toothache. I know you can’t help my dentist, that’s St. Apollonia’s turf, but bestow the gift of oblivion before and after the drill. Make me like unto your protégés the superheroes. Grant me the grace of giving no fucks, make me the vessel of your holy sarcasm until you see fit to let me make my mark through kinder means. Though I am one of your lost souls, make me like unto your sacred balloons large and small, whose downfall remains terrible mystery.

St. Karen, St. Katherine, blessed Kitty, sacred Kate, so many, so much on your plate. Make room for my serving. Rid me of those sins bestowed by others, sanctify my scrubbing, make me pure, at last free of blotch and stain.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist and former German major and writer of restaurant reviews, sometimes in heroic couplets, sometimes imitating Hemingway. Her first full sentence was, “Look at the moon!” Collections include The Book of Knots and their Untying (Kelsay Books) and the chapbooks Burrowing Song, Eggs Satori, and, Kafka’s Cat (Kattywompus Press). She co-curates Fourth Sundays, a poetry series in Claremont, California. She is not that Karen.

You can see more of her work in 6.4

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