Thursday, August 23, 2007

Poetry Friday: and you know this

-and you know this-

Have you ever eaten a cob of corn

cold, wrapped up the day before

because you couldn’t bear to throw away

such goodness, even though–and you know this–

corn is never the same

the day after.

You unwrap it anyway,

don’t heat it, don’t salt it, don’t butter it, don’t even

sit before you bite. Not much taste–you knew that–but oh!–

how crisp!–like raw snow–and you remember

your mother, lecturing produce

clerks on why the thinnest ears were the sweetest,

and how she shucked each ear

at the store, just to be

sure, and

rubbing–this was your job–the stubborn silk

from those ears before they were plunged

into boiling water laced

with a tablespoon of sugar and

sticking little wooden skewers

like shark’s teeth into the ends

of the cob, so as not to burn

your fingers and

rolling the corn over a whole

stick of butter, melting

corn tracks into its back–

bad manners–but your mother

allowed it, and

eating the corn in pre-counted rows, or messy

patchwork fashion, or round and round

like a buzz saw, or in races

with your brothers, and

fishing the trash

later for the one lost

skewer and (much later)

growing your own corn in a miniature

matrix of a garden in New Mexico

and your daughter baptizing

herself in the dirt as you stroked the emerging

tassels of finger-thin cobs and

marveling that night at her breath,

which as she slept, was the exact scent of new

corn, and how you were high on it, inhaling

in the dark, and finally, you remember

that you are eating this

cold ear of corn,

not heated, not buttered, not salted,

but straight, like vodka,

and it feels like a dangerous act

as if it were forbidden–

and you know this–

to eat corn this way. You resist

kissing it before

you begin.

----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by The Book Mine Set


  1. Very beautiful. I love how you captured the ability we have to infuse the oddest of objects with our own personal symbolism.

  2. LOVE THIS (no surprise, O Mistress Poetical)! Corn will never be the same ever again. (It MUST be eaten in neat little rows or your life will be ruined.)

  3. Even tho it's been said already, I shall write what popped into my head:

    I love this!!

  4. Lovely, lovely, lovely, Sara. Wow.

  5. Sara,

    I LOVE this poem. We just had fresh corn twice this week. What a sensual delight...the kernels slippery with melted butter and sprinkled with salt. Your poem holds a truth that sometimes a scent, or sight...a sound, or one particular experience can bring back a flood of memories.

  6. Hey, I have a particular fondness for this poem, 'cause a really nice lady sent it to me once.

    It's still breathtakingly good.

  7. Poetry Friday reminds me of a book I love: How to Read a Poem...and Start a Poetry Circle by Molly Peacock. Thank you all for coming by here and sharing your thoughts. It really does feel like a big circle on Fridays, doesn't it?

  8. This is gorgeous. Bravo!

  9. Sara, how wonderful. I'm so glad you started a blog--among other lovely things, we can read your poems.

  10. Aaahhhh. Now I need to go to the farmer's market to pick up some sweet corn. Beautiful poem!

  11. Oh, Mmmm.

    The perfect sanctity of neat, sweet rows, eating in perfect spirals...

    This is toe-curlingly wonderful; must go to the store now...

  12. Would it be funny if I confessed that I ate spicy honey mustard kettle corn today instead of fresh corn? I promise, I'll head to the market with the rest of you tomorrow. It's just that the kettle corn went so well with the sushi...

  13. You see, I participate in Poetry Friday to be in support of the community and to expand my own horizons in finding and reading poetry, but I'm not a real poetry fan.

    But I love this poem. And I love the 39 Reasons to Write. I can't wait to see what's next.

    You're amazing.

  14. AAAA!!! I love this!!

    And Jama, you're right: It MUST be eaten in neat little rows or your life will be ruined. I thought I was the only one who knew that.

  15. Holy Crap. I LOVE THIS POEM. "Baptizing herself in the dirt..." Truly beautiful.

  16. There's nothing I like better than getting a "Holy Crap" out of someone, Laura. :) That includes you, too, MotherReader, you sham of a poetry skeptic.

  17. Lovely! I do love corn, but rarely do I have it on the cob.

  18. Lovely. Just lovely. Took me right back to my childhood. I'm going to have to ignore my husband's low-carb preferences for a night and rush out to buy a few ears! Mmmm.

  19. Oh my soul you are making me so hungry. Corn is coming again!


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