• snap beans •

• snap beans •
To get to the last of the pods
on the bottom of the last
snap bean bush
in the bottom row,
she knelt down:
this garden’s proprietress,
her bare knee sinking into the soil,
and, giving way ’round her,
an inch or two,
the soil smell,
of fragrant humus
reached my nostrils.

And, lifting my chin,
I looked at her,
as if for the first time.
She looked up at me,
and stopped,
as if she were suddenly aware
of some unspoken thing –
(in the color of the soil –
which was a rich dark brown,
very nearly black;
in this sunlight,
which seemed to come
from everywhere at once),
leaving the track
of her soiled glove’s passage ,
with her gloved hand,
she wiped a trickle of sweat
from her glowing brow.

And then, I saw there,
something which sparkled:
a mineral essence.
in mere dirt alone,
I have never seen since,
nor before.
It seemed, to me,
upon reflection,
it needed she,
to shine so.

The woman rose to her feet,
and handed the bag to me –
the bag –
which she had provisioned,
was filled with green
clinging beans
to overflowing.

It crinkled in my ears,
as only brown paper will,
and gave way,
in my arms,
and the smell of green beans,
and of brown paper
reaching into me –
carried with it,
of her sweat,
a faint aroma .

This woman, aware of me –
and I, of she, who, hitherto,
I did not know:
(except, perhaps,
from Sunday school –
who was in my mom’s
Bible study group,
some years before)
but I was aware of her,
in such a way
as I could not comprehend it
with my tender mind,
except that,
I had wanted to touch her hand:
if only to have
from her glove,
the soil smell,
to go with me,
together with her own –
when I would
get into the car,
and go my way:
bearing my bag of green beans, imbued,
of her sweat,
and of the soil,
and of the sunlight,
and of her warm,
sweet aroma.

As we pulled away,
and onto the highway,
I buried my face in,
and wrapped my arms around
the whole of all of it!
My gift.
My vegetable hoard.

To my mind.
as we drove away,
homeward –
I was not ashamed,
but informed,
~ Tim Burchfield



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