of a dog like that, you give it away to somebody with a big farm.
I don’t know what you do about a neighbor.”
Estevan shrugged. “I understand,” he said.
“Really, I don’t think she knew what she was saying, about
how the woman and kid who got shot must have been drug deal-
ers or whatever.”
“Oh, I believe she did. This is how Americans think.” He was
looking at me in a thoughtful way. “You believe that if something
terrible happens to someone, they must have deserved it.”
I wanted to tell him this wasn’t so, but I couldn’t. “I guess
you’re right,” I said. “I guess it makes us feel safe.”
Estevan left Mattie’s every day around four o’clock to go to
work. Often he would come down a little early and we’d chat
while he waited for his bus. “Attending my autobus” was the way
he put it.
“Can I tell you something?” I said. “I think you talk so beauti-
fully. Ever since I met you I’ve been reading the dictionary at
night and trying to work words like constellation and scenario into
He laughed. Everything about him, even his teeth, were so
perfect they could have come from a book about the human body.
“I have always thought you had a wonderful way with words,” he
said. “You don’t need to go fishing for big words in the dictionary.
You are poetic, mi’ija.”
“Mi hija,” he pronounced it slowly.
“My daughter. But it doesn’t work the same in English. We
say it to friends. You would call me mi’ijo.”
“Well, thank you for the compliment,” I said, “but that’s the
biggest bunch of hogwash, what you said. When did I ever say
“Washing hogs is poetic,” he said. His eyes actually twinkled.
His bus pulled up and he stepped quickly off the curb, catch-
ing the doorway and swinging himself in as it pulled away. That is
The Miracle of Dog Doo Park