The Meadow Annual Literary Arts Journal 2018

150 The Meadow Juan G. Jessica Mehta For a year he cut the lawn, and I never knew his last name. I had to ask the neighbor in the yellow house after he vanished, her roses dormant witnesses in the dark. When I’d tried in terrible Spanish to explain where to plant the lavender, my macete stumbled out machete and he’d laughed behind black cheap glasses, said, Police, bad, they don’t like it. Words fall out clumsy, twisted, and his surname— we only cared when he’d gone. Then, it was knocks on doors, furtive asks in the night. For a week I watched the online detainee locator site, made calls that never came back. The neighbor patrolled his church, carried back stories of an avocado orchard outside Tancítaro, unravelling acres of drug cartels with fuerte -slick lips where his father-in-law was murdered last month. We don’t know to hope that ICE ripened him out or if he turned scared and went south. Children hunkered the cab with grass clippings, his wife watching the exit signs fall to one. Who knows? the neighbor said, her white teeth shining. Maybe one day he’ll show up with a truck of avocados and his cataracts scraped clean.