I push my cart through Plowboy’s produce market
gleaning this song for the first days of fall:
broccoli cauliflower cabbage kohlrabi
The price of red pepper is dropping.
Eggplant shines purple.
Bell pepper is green.
I watch an old couple choose stringbeans:
she fills their sack by handfuls. He frowns,
empties the bag back into the bin,
then turns each bean to the light
before dropping it in.
pattypan crook-neck pumpkin zucchini
A woman wearing a scarf tight at her chin
eats Thompson’s seedless from the grape bin.
Tokay Exotic Muscat Red Flame
At the melons, a man in white shorts, skin brown
as russet potatoes, swings a cantaloupe into his cart.
I think I’m in love.
Winesap Pippin Golden Delicious
where last week there were plums.
Old man, kiss your wife.
Wash your face in the juice of ripe fruit.
Put beans into your sack without looking.
Old man, we’re in Plowboy’s—
every bean is perfect, every bean is right.
"In Plowboy's Produce Market" by Donna Hilbert. Text as published in Traveler in Paradise: New and Selected Poems (Pearl Editions, 2004). © Donna Hilbert. Presented here by poet submission.
Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer.
Poet photograph: Sandra Chandler.