In the Cut Grass

by Teague Bohlen

This will be the last time I’ll mow this lawn. New owners take possession on the first, and even though my friends say I owe them nothing, that I shouldn’t even still be here, I can’t stand to leave the grass uncut. My wife wouldn’t have wanted it that way, wouldn’t let me leave it ragged and uneven - she liked the grass best when it was freshly mowed, and so I cut it for her often, though it’s now clear that it wasn’t often enough. Our eighteen-month-old daughter is crying inside, I can hear her in her bedroom - she cries a lot, doesn’t understand where her mother is, and what’s worse is the fact that I can’t tell her anything, can’t even cry anymore, can’t even show her that she’s not crazy for missing her mother, that she’s right in feeling lost and alone since the car accident that blasted our golden lab right out of the way-back part of the hatchback and into the back of my wife’s head. They found the dog lying on my wife’s lap, his tongue out, her head bowed unnaturally over his, my daughter crying like she was a newborn all over again. I sold the house because my wife is everywhere here - I smell her in the cut grass, and in the gardens too, amongst the flowers whose names I don’t know, and she’s in my daughter, who’s all I have and all I’ve lost, and I keep thinking that I have to get away, get away and start again, but I’m afraid that I can’t, because there’s grass everywhere, and besides, no matter where I go, no matter how I begin again, I know that she’s the place I’ll start.

6S

Teague Bohlen teaches at the University of Colorado at Denver, where he co-edits the literary and arts magazine Copper Nickel. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, was just released late last year, and his short fiction has been seen in Pindeldyboz and Terrain.org. His wife, he’s happy to say, is alive and well, and designed his website at www.teaguebohlen.com.