M. L. Brown

Carpinteria Fordhook Lima Bean

Phaseolus lunatus

We speak—hard white seeds,
little waxing moons
that slip

into turned soil
like smooth stones
into a child’s pocket.

Pot bean,

Our farmer
sowed us on
the coastal plain,

stood at the rumps
of his three bays
that ploughed the fields—

obedient troika
even his young sons 
could drive.

The fields, cupped 
on three sides 
by mountains, 

on the fourth—open
to the loamy ocean
with it tides of till and sow.

Buttery, earthy,
100 years ago
from this unlikely place

we fed most
of the world.
People were crazy for us.

After the Edson Smith Photo collection Carpinteria Lima Beans

M. L. Brown is the author of Call It Mist, winner of the 2018 Three Mile Harbor Press Book Prize, and Drought, winner of the Claudia Emerson Chapbook award. Her work has appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and Blackbird, among other journals and anthologies. Also by this poet: “Hay Rake