by Joan Colby

Saturday mornings, I wake
To the growl of the mower going past
Our bedroom windows. A man hunched
In a hoodie over the controls swerving
Around the evergreen and lilac bushes.

Two years ago, I looked hard and said
Inquiringly You’re not Isidro He
Laughed. Isidro went back to Mexico.
I’m Jose. I felt like an actor
In a bad cliché.

The year of drought. The grass turned brown
As grocery bags. My neighbor said
Jose is cleaning stalls over on Bahr Road.
A boarding stable where girls in hard hats
And shining boots jump horses over hurdles.
Jose forks manure, spreads straw,
Breaks hay bales into flakes.

The rains return. Jose
Has a new truck, two mowers, two helpers,
Jorge and Hector. One smiles, the other stern,
Intent upon the task as he mows down
Our day lilies. Jose presents his bill.
The price has risen. You should
Warn us. He grins: a capitalist,
Entrepreneur. His new business card.

Two months now. He never mulched
The leaves. Never took the leftover shingles
We said he could have. His phone
Rings and rings. We still owe him
For October.

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