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Poetry Moment: 'Glucose Self-Monitoring,' by Katy Giebenhain

Katy Giebenhain
Katy Giebenhain

This is Poetry Moment on WPSU – a weekly program featuring the work of contemporary Pennsylvania poets. Your host is poet and author Marjorie Maddox, a 2023 Monson Arts Fellow, author of 20 books, and professor of English and creative writing at the Lock Haven campus of Commonwealth University. 

Welcome to Poetry Moment.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Some of us expressed our love with... sugar! For others, sweet temptation is not so sweet. Resistance is a daily ritual—both wise and necessary. In today’s poem, “Glucose Self-Monitoring,” Katy Giebenhain describes the “tiny crime” that keeps her healthy.

Based in Adams County, Pennsylvania, Katy Giebenhain is the author of Sharps Cabaret, winner of the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry by Mercer University Press. She co-hosts a First Friday poetry series at the Ragged Edge Coffeehouse in downtown Gettysburg. A poet with a day-job in healthcare, Katy is a student in University of Florida's Graduate Certificate in Arts in Public Health program. She occasionally blogs at Big Pharma and the Barkeep: [].

As sweet as sugar: In casual conversation, we often communicate using comparisons. However, poets take language a step further, choosing unexpected comparisons that deepen understanding and lead toward discovery. At their best, similes and metaphors are surprising and logical. They make sense. Listen as Katy Giebenhain precisely, creatively, and logically describes glucose self-monitoring.

Here’s “Glucose Self-Monitoring” by Katy Giebenhain

- - -

A stabbing in miniature, it is,
a tiny crime,
my own blood parceled
drop by drop and set
on the flickering tongue
of this machine.

It is the spout-punching of trees
for syrup new and smooth
and sweeter
than nature ever intended.
It is Sleeping Beauty’s curse
and fascination.
It is the dipstick measuring of oil
from the Buick’s throat,
the necessary maintenance.

It is every vampire movie ever made.

Hand, my martyr without lips,
my quiet cow.
I’ll milk your fingertips
for all they’re worth.
For what they’re worth.

Something like a harvest, it is,
a tiny crime.

- - -
First Published in Prairie Schooner.
- - -

That was “Glucose Self Monitoring” by Katy Giebenhain.

Thanks for listening. With Poetry Moment, I’m Marjorie Maddox.

Listen for Poetry Moment with Marjorie Maddox Mondays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on WPSU. You can more episodes at

Our theme music is by Eric Ian Farmer.

Marjorie Maddox is the host of WPSU's Poetry Moment for the 2023-24 season. She has been a professor of English and creative writing since 1990 at the Lock Haven campus of Commonwealth University.