Mud Season

There, hanging on a rusted nail,

the broom I used to sweep the dirt

the girls tracked in from the field.

In the corner, shelves where I stacked their shoes –

nice boots bought specifically for the semester,

fresh leather smell and the colors still rich.

 

Walk up the stairs where late at night

I heard them crying, the phone to their ears.

To the right, a cabinet

filled with cough drops and gauze

for the weeks when they went under.

 

They were prep school girls, city girls,

here to enjoy a Vermont spring.

It was the farthest from home

their parents would allow,

and the life of a farmer

to them seemed charming.

 

Not that they planned to be farmers.

These girls were going to be

doctors and lawyers, artists and engineers.

They were only here from March til May,

then sent over the hills

back to their shining cityscapes

where everything would be just as they left it.

 

They took with them what dirt was still

caked onto their boots.

(They got blisters the first week.

I had to bandage their swollen heels

and wipe their blood from the floor.)

 

I will miss them as I miss the snow

when the forest finally greens,

as I miss seeing sheep in pasture.

After that, I will pick up my trowel

and make my way to Garden Hill,

where I’ll pull out the onions

they buried in the loam

and reorder them all

in perfect rows.

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