The kindergartners, hungover from Halloween’s up-late sugar-fest, don’t exactly gambol into the classroom as Mrs. Gill plays “When the Saints Go Marching In” on the cassette player. Last night, they were Disney heroines and Marvel superheroes, with the occasional butterfly, puppy, generic princess, pirate thrown in. The ambitious single father made an ATM costume that issued receipts: Thank You for the Boo-tiful Candy!
This morning, parents seated in a semicircle in minuscule orange chairs yawn, wait. They knew this was coming: choosing a saint—all the girls begging to be Mary—reading the story, choosing three facts to present to the throng, making a costume.
The saints come in: Mary, shuffling with a stuffed snake tied around her feet; Francis, brown robe, plush animals galore; George; Joan; Agnes. Finally, Lucy.
Mrs. Gill gasps; parents snicker: the five-year-old’s eyes taped shut, a tray with golf-ball eyes in her hands.
Ellen Noonan earned her MFA at Emerson College and is a lecturer in the English Department at Northeastern University in Boston. Her poems have been published in the University Reporter, Spectrum, and Beacon Street Review, and she attended the inaugural session of the Ashbery Home School this past August.