A Bean Tale

By Judith Ward
Volume 3//Poem


My mother wasn’t a liar,

nor was she spiteful or a trickster

(that I know of)

So there may have been some truth

in what she said about the beans.


A city dweller with no beans of my own,

(nor garden to grow them,)

I was dependent, then, at thirty or so

on a mother who lived amid

rural abundance, ankle-deep in soil


She always sent me the first picking

boxed, wrapped in brown paper,

the youngest pods slender, tender,

without hint of inner seed.


Package from postman on early July morning:

within lay beans, aged and tough,

seeds inside big as marbles.

“How could you,” I whined long-distance.


She said nothing at first...

but silence not being her style; it didn’t last.

In astonishment, amusement, disbelief,

she gave the only answer available:

“They must have grown old in the mail,”

said she.