Green String Beans


Green String Beans

Long thin beans on slender stems,
fresh, smooth velvet
carefully picked,
weighed, lifted.
Carried them
as she did
the signs of fading youth.

Softened each one gently from ends,
Prepared, diced into tiny circles,
pearls in a sea of green
like rows of embossed dupattas
ready to be worn.

There was but one, like none other,
could not be cut… staring instead,
eyes in fixed resolve,
seeing her knife as nothing more
than a clean slate to write on.

The sound of heavy feet
echoed through the empty house.
And a piercing cry broke the silence:
“Where are you? Why don’t you respond?”

The string bean fell from her hands.
It had not yet been softened or cut.
It might have been too small,
leaving her to wonder what went wrong.

The sound drowned her half-spoken thoughts.
“There is still one left to chop…
How can I respond?
What have I to say?

Familiar footsteps approached
and cried in rage why there seemed
to be no one at home,
no one to answer questions any more.

“This one is not yet ripe,” she said,
“Not ready to be eaten.”
The footsteps, unaccustomed to having to wait,
scattered her green pearls everywhere.

She saw her work lying on the floor…
except the one that remained,
the smallest, sweetest of them all.

She held it softly in her hand and said:
“You are the only one… uncut, unripe…
Where shall I keep you?
What shall I do with you?
How shall I water you?
I have no more tears left for you,
my little pearl!”



All digital artwork © Amani Singh

Nilambri Ghai is a longtime friend and editor of Serai. “Green String Beans” is her translation of the poem she originally wrote in Punjabi.

3D artist Amani Singh has a diploma in animation. She is currently employed at The Focus, MPC, Technicolor, and is working towards improving her art and knowledge in the industry. Her aim is to open her own studio specializing in stylized art and animation and creating animations that connect with people and spread awareness.