Monica Cure

Patron Saint of Among Other Things

“You cannot define a person on just one thing.”                                                                                                                                                                                        Aretha Franklin

She couldn’t tell me which saint he was—I assumed he was
a saint, conspicuous among the costume jewelry
spread out on her table.

A trinket of a man holding a staff, sash around his tunic,
a dog looking up at him adoringly as he reveals a thigh.

I had made my way halfway through the market
by then, weaving among rows of spools of fishing wire,
empty jars of all sizes, old engagement rings,
not knowing what I was looking for—it was
a relief to be out in the sunshine, looking at things
other than my own and talking to strangers again.

She had been to America—her grandchildren there
had taught her some English—but she’d lost
her chance at a green card now.

Everyone knows St. Jude is the patron saint
of lost causes, and St. Anthony helps
when something goes missing—but what
could he do? Hand-colorized, fit inside
this tiny frame, a bail attached for a chain.

I knew I’d never wear it, but this unknown saint
the woman reduced to 15 lei for me was like nothing
I had, what we couldn’t have known we needed.

St. Roch, patron saint of, among other things,
pilgrims, bachelors, second-hand dealers,
specially invoked against the plague.