A journal of narrative writing.
Stained Francis

He began as Frank, with his high choir voice and clear faith and shabby shoes with the toes coming off. At recess, he shunned our devotion to all things involving a ball and stood by the chain link fence to chat with the neighborhood dogs, whose names he always knew, or whistle like every passing bird. The nuns in their stunned alcoves loved him and placed him close to Father when he came to lecture us. During the lesson of Saint Francis, Father’s eyes glowed beneficence, all that warm mercy bypassing us and blessing Frank, instead, and we saw how the nuns forgave his sweat-brown collar, how his cracked glasses were good, and good the father he’d never known, his drunken mother, and good how God loved him best for all the things he didn’t have and how the things we possessed— fathers with jobs, volunteer mothers, clean clothes—made us less worthy. Then, it was easy to change his name from Frank to Francis, and catch him no matter how fast he ran after school, past the steeple of the steel playground, and one rainy afternoon slam his face in the wet dirt and the dirt in his mouth and batter every surface he tried to shield with our fists and say, There, there, Stained Frances, call your goddamn dogs to save you.