À La Carte: Deportation Fears

follow me, like my shadow
under blinking streetlights
when I walk home at twilight
listening to “Immigration Man,” with my earbuds,
afraid for our people, their lives,
holding a leash, the tight ends
gripping my slender wrist,
Apollo leading me down
empty streets, dark sidewalks,
but unlike the President,
he will not forsake me,
not with his uncanny senses
leading the way, stopping
for tree trunks or telephone poles,
sniffing out things I cannot see,
traces of other dogs long gone,
our people taken to other places,
while a helicopter flies close by,
at one point directly overhead,
a white light in the sky, an engine
echoing, and all of our shadows
crossing into one amorphous mass,
like an amoeba engulfing,
absorbing another, growing larger
until the helicopter whirls away,
leaving sweat beads on my face,
one drop breaking down my back,
while I cross a park without a swing set,
stumble past unruly grass and plots
for community vegetable gardens—
unpicked tomatoes, squash, cucumbers
growing until left face down in the muck
like us all at the end of our season.

Mario Duarte is a senior academic advisor at the University of Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poems and short stories have appeared in aaduna, Carnival, Chicago Literati, Hinchas de Poesía, Huizache, Medusa’s Laugh Press, PANK Magazine, The RavensPerch, Rigorous, SLAB, Storyscape Journal, and Typishly, and is forthcoming in Pilgrimage.