Francisco

by Laura Eppinger


Francisco Hernandez, seven
years old and a saint, I pray
he never changes.

One child has a tantrum
over snack choices, Cisco
administers a plush sea turtle. The storm
passes quickly. His stuffed squids
passed around the room, running
tentacles over train tracks, peeking dark
eyes out of Lego towers. I’d offer
up anything to know that Cisco will
have a life so full of adventure.

No one soothes like Cisco, the
outcast kids, the biters, the criers,
the ignored. A bright figurine moves
from one set of brown
hands to another—an iguana, a macaw,
a marmoset, a tree frog—miracles,
all. Before you can say abracadabra,
the tears melt away, as if unwept
and the kids who just can’t focus, play.

I want to tell him, Thank You,
for being so just, but
Cisco is busy beneath
the sea (underneath a table) and
I won’t pull him back to the classroom,
no, not yet.

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