July 4, 2008

My Journey to God

Sweet Corn

For lunch
I desired only a ripe ear of sweet corn
coated in butter and salt.

I searched the rows
and examined each ear for signs of maturity,
rejecting the color of silk
or the feel of the ear,
or the way that it clung, still too closely to the stalk,
until I found the one ear that satisfied my knowing eye and hand.

Darker green near the tip
where the black, dried-up bag lady hair showed itself,
but smoother and lighter, more cashmere and yellowy green
near the broken off stem,
and curling back from each shuck leaf,
the stalk leaf from which it was formed
stood out like a handle
inviting me to pull it down.

The outer parchment-like leaves came down easily,
but inside they were stubborn,
intent on protecting the corn
from the bugs and the weather—
the sun and the storms of summer—
and from me.

Nineteen leaves formed the shuck
and as I pulled the most tender and small
ones down, the silk was revealed.
Flaxen yellow, like doll hair,
a color and texture I’d thought of as fake
‘til I saw it there on my corn.
Designed and engineered by nature,
or by God, is what I believe.

I pulled it away from
the kernels.
Sixteen strands of antique yellow white pearls,
translucent and shiny in the bright kitchen light,
juicy and tender and succulent sweet.

And I knew then that what I had read
about God counting the hairs on my head
might be true.
So much care for the birds, and the lilies,
the grass of the field,
and for one ear of corn!

And I bowed my head in my small kitchen chapel
to give a blessing
over a ripe ear of sweet corn
coated in butter and salt.

By Pat Logan-Browne

(Pat Logan-Browne is a member of St. Bernadette Parish in Indianapolis and an associate of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Oldenburg. This poem was previously published in genesis, the literary magazine of IUPUI, in 1986. Her poem references Matthew 6:25-34, Matthew 10:30 and Luke 12:7.)

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