Lima Bean

By Anna Chotlos

August 8, 2022

Lima Bean

When my friend texts me her first ultrasound photo, it’s still early, 8 or 9 weeks. We hold our joy tenderly, hoping it sticks.

This is the first time I have looked closely at a sonogram, and to me, the baby looks like a lima bean or a popcorn kernel or a tadpole. Wet, blobby. Recognizable, but unfinished. A dark spot that might become an eye or an ear. A little notch that might be a mouth. The beginning of an umbilical cord.

I remember how, as kids in school, we sprouted actual lima beans, nestled in folds of damp paper towel, enclosed in plastic bags taped to the window. Blurry anticipation, waiting for roots to unfurl. The worry that nothing would happen. The magic of getting to watch what is usually hidden.

I was prepared to gush to the moon and back, but I didn’t have to pretend awe. It reminds me of how Psalm 139 used to make me pause. A list of the ways it is impossible to escape God.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

It has been years since I went to church or prayed in any of the ways I was taught, but I still cannot escape. Looking at the grainy, gray lima bean, I’m no longer convinced that’s a bad thing.

There is a strong heartbeat, my friend types to me. Growth on track.


Anna Chotlos’s writing has recently appeared in Split Lip, Hotel Amerika, Sweet Lit, and Quarter After Eight. She is a PhD student at the University of North Texas. 


Image by ImagineDesign courtesy of Adobe Stock


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