Gengulphus

by M. Krochmalnik Grabois

Someone in our town
mailed me a mug shot of my wife

It came in a brown envelope
my name scrawled across the front
no return address

What did I ever do to him (or her)?
I’ve never harmed anyone
I’m careful not to

I’m almost like a Hindu
who won’t walk on the path
for fear of stepping on a bug

I got the mug shot
after I came home from work at the sawmill
old and exhausted
sweaty and dirty

I tore open the envelope and
saw that corrupted face
frozen in time
held it in my two hands

What could I do
but sink deeper into the pit of defeat
and depression?

Gengulphus of Burgundy
Saint of Difficult Marriages
help me

I have a picture of Gengulphus
stuck in the corner of my bathroom mirror
where I can see it
when I pull the razor across my face

Then I go pull lumber off the conveyer
and stack it
all day long
and all day I pray
to Saint Gengulphus for help

I shave because I don’t want to look like a bum
especially now that my wife looks so bad
We’re separated
but I see her around town
when she’s not in jail
She was a beautiful woman once
but meth destroyed her looks

Gengulphus
had so much trouble with his wife
that he left town and
sought a life of solitude in his castle in Avallon

They called it a castle
but it was just a heap
of cold dim rooms
and there he was murdered
by his wife’s lover

something that won’t happen to me
because my wife’s looks are destroyed
and no one will ever feel as passionate about her
as I once did
not even close

Even if there’s a miracle
and she stops doing meth
she’ll never get her looks back
She’s too far gone
It doesn’t matter how much I pray to Gengulphus
the Saint of Difficult Marriages

Saint Gengulphus, help me, I pray
as I pull the razor across my face
as I pull lumber off the Green Chain

Gengulphus, tormented by woman
murdered by your wife’s lover
you know how life works
you know what my life is
you know how much I need a miracle
you know how much I need your help
You know I’ve given up
So why do I still pray
to you?

All the passion I had for her
All the love I gave her
it was like pouring used motor oil
into a 55 gallon drum
something that once kept
an engine clean and running strong
the engine of my love for her
now just dirty sludge
and the engine’s no good anymore

Human life, human effort
it all goes for naught
even the life of Saint Gengulphus
except that
with his help
some Difficult Marriages
are saved

But some marriages are too Difficult
even for Saint Gengulphus’s intervention
No one in the olden days foresaw
the scourge of meth
foresaw my wife
smoking it

Saint Gengulphus
take the day off
Then come back and
give your aid to some couple that might be
redeemable

because the train has left the station
for us

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