This week’s poem, “Dried Beans,” by Alice Haines, celebrates harvest. I love the speaker’s rich and tactile description of both the harvesting and the colorful beans, and I love the grace she finds in how her reap endures.

Haines’ poems have appeared in Off the Coast, Northern New England Review, The Healing Muse and Touchstone Literary Magazine. She works in inner-city Lewiston and lives in an 1820s farmhouse with her husband. She enjoys birding, exploring and nurturing native plants.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, indigenous writers, and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

 

Dried Beans

By Alice Haines

 

We trod on the husks with satisfying crunches,

thrashed them by the stems against the inside

of a box, beans popping from their pods.

Then up the windy hill we hauled them, tossing

and winnowing the chaff, which flew off to the sky

and silent fields like the dust of ghosts dispersing.

 

Sorted by type, they glistened in cranberry, silky

white or purpled black, some speckled crimson,

or marked with tiny sunsets or standing soldiers.

We delighted in their intoxicating

sameness—to plunge our hands into each smooth,

and yielding mass felt like perfect childhood.

 

Beans that escaped, rolled and skittered as if

they were dispersed by their own magnificent will,

slid under chairs or into the heating grate.

But most gleamed through pantry jars all winter

never rotting, unlike the fecund squash

or spoiled apples—lasting like God itself.

 

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Dried Beans,” copyright © 2021 by Alice Haines, appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to mainewriters.org/deep-water.


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