Vermont, Early Spring

In April snow lingers like a drought.
The crocuses that sprouted are re-buried.

The clematis’ buds freeze over
and the vine remains brown and woody.

Inside my mother’s house, new
cream-colored curtains. When

the cat climbs them, she is banished
to the barn. The horses’ coats

keep their thickness. Their bellies
round from a season of standstill.

The cat holes up in the hayloft
while mice tear through grain bags.

The hay in the loft is dwindling
and the field is still white.

My mother stokes the woodstove,
wears flannel to bed. From California,

I call to tell her my friend, unmarried
and pregnant, craves only tomato soup.

She doesn’t ask, but I tell her
there will be no baby. My mother says,

Things rarely change, no matter where
you are. Then she tells me that yesterday

she watched a robin, the first of the season,
carrying straw, piece by piece,

up to its unfinished nest.


Hillary Katz’s poems have appeared in Salamander, burntdistrict, A cappella Zoo, Rufous City Review, and other journals. She is a poetry reader for Weave Magazine. Originally from Vermont, she now lives in San Francisco, where she teachers elementary school.

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