I have a tendency to rush,
sometimes not taking enough time to read a label
and coming home with a diet or gluten-free version of something.
It was that way with the corn I bought at the farmers market,
bought without inspection
and tossed carelessly into a sinkful of water,
fully dressed, to soak.
A half hour later when Stephanie went to retrieve them
the sink water was murky.
She, being as slow-going and cautious
as I am impetuous and quick,
began to look for the source of the murk,
inching back husks.
The corn at the tip
was not corn after all,
but a soft, mealy, tan-colored disintegration of matter
housing one or two
I yanked the cobs from water,
intent on cutting off the vile part,
hoping the infection stopped there.
Laying the corn on my chopping block,
I trembled — what if the rot was complete?
What if when the husk costume
was pulled back,
I would see,
instead of perky, shining kernels,
a monstrosity of mush
riddled with gorging insects?
One might have thought I’d have learned,
and slowed down
to soberly consider the best course of action.
But instead I moved as quickly as ever,
stripping down the husk like a rampaging soldier
the blouse of a country maid
till I saw what might have been firm kernel,
I was moving so fast,
then hacking off the offending tips
with an instinctual hatred of rot.
I consider myself the tough guy of the house,
never minding the silverfish or spider,
snuffing their lights out in one sure jab of wadded TP,
but this corn made me gag.
However, the supper train had left the station,
and we had bedtime schedules to meet:
This corn was getting cooked.
And when it was done,
I peeled each one down.
Slowly now, the rush gone.
I had nothing to lose,
poised as I was
on the precipice of domestic failure.
But all I saw was
I buttered each hot cob thoroughly,
doused mine with lime,
and sank my teeth into it.
It was the best corn I’ve ever had.
The worms were onto something.