Jane Hilberry


I’d allowed myself to thirst and thirst,
and when I drank
from the cup of her body,
the snow began to fall
in flakes as big as feathers,
hushing the streets, covering cars.
It drew neighbors out
to push snow from one another’s trees
where branches hung loaded,
and the limbs, suddenly freed,
sprung toward sky.
Others heaved, cracked, and fell,
as if from grief’s unbearable weight.
My neighbor leapt across my lawn
to check the chimney, so that fumes
wouldn’t kill me. Perhaps I will die,
now that I have sung her shape,
now that I have tasted fruit so sweet
it makes me want to save even the smallest
branch of peach and plum,
fruit that drives me into the world
with my shovel and too-small gloves,
as snow lands on my hair,
in my eyes, on my wrists exposed
below the coat, snow that soon
will melt into earth, replenishing
the cup of her body.

Jane Hilberry
Blizzard first appeared in The Women’s Review of Books, Fall 2005, and is reprinted from Body Painting, (Red Hen Press, 2005).