Francisco on his shelf,
Wreathed in dusty wax
Roses, for weeks and weeks
Hadn’t been himself—

Making no day come true
By answering a prayer,
Just dully standing there . . .
What did our Grandma do?

She painted his beard black
And rinsed the roses clean,
Then hid his rags in half
A new red satin cloak,

Renaming him Martín.
Next week the baby spoke,
Juan sent a photograph
On board his submarine,

Aunt Concha went to cook
Downtown at the hotel,
The sick white dog got well
—And that was all it took!
—James Merrill