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.