She was the Palmer County Green Bean Queen,
Her face on every can the trucks took out
To stores in Lincoln, Springfield, and Durban.
It was 1967,
The sky was a weird yellow,
And the grass had already given up.
Even the air had a strange ozone tang.
In '66 her mama told her,
"Take care of my beefsteaks, the cherries, and even the early girls I tried this year."
She was a woman who had always lived close to the earth,
So she knew, sure enough, when it was calling her.
Her daddy had been a wing walker between the wars.
He said, "Kissin' your mama and kissin' Heaven are just about the same fine feelin' "
But she couldn't remember
Because she had been nothing but a blue-eyed baby girl.
The Palmer County Green Bean Queen wasn't afraid that day.
Even the cattle had headed for the far corner of the pasture,
But she stood in the yard near the house
So she'd not have to carry the chairs so far.
She turned to me, beautiful as she had ever been, and said,
"Ellie, he's coming."
I tried to pull her down to the cellar,
But I knew,
From the Jesus look in her eyes,
That though she stood there still, waiting in the wind,
She was really already gone.
for Magpie 91