Articles/Essays – Volume 55, No. 3

Saint George, Utah

Not named for the Saint
who met the princess by
the lake and with her girdle
leashed the dragon. Who killed

      it for the people’s conversion.
Whose chapel in Windsor
holds a part of his skull
part of his arm or

his heart. In a cup
of griffin’s egg
two fingers.
Mormons have no saints

      save the pioneers. Saint George
the cousin of Joseph Smith.
George A Smith whom the Paiutes
called Non-choko-wicher takes himself

apart after watching
him remove his teeth
glasses and wig. Who did not
settle that place but called

      the saints to settle it.
Instructed them to eat
potatoes raw with skin
to prevent scurvy.

They called him Potato Saint.
A few miles north my English
great great grandmother
Agnes ate only potatoes

      and salt for three weeks
when her husband was on a mission
in Europe. Because there was
no other food.

I do not know
what her sister wife
ate. When her baby
fell into the fire

      Agnes rubbed halved
potatoes onto the burned
hands. Wrapped each finger
separately so they would not

graft together.
A finger was taken
three months later.
Someone said

      it was corrupting
the other fingers.
Agnes told a story
from England.

A poor woman’s
pastor visits and asks
to pray with her.
As he prays she

      interrupts
him with
potatoes!
potatoes!

When he stops
praying she explains
God might hear her
between the man’s words

      and think to send
a starving woman
potatoes
potatoes.

This is the joke.


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