Don’t Pick Corn Before It’s Ripe and Other Lessons

Grandma’s Cupcake Stand, Jessica Ashworth

Mom and I built a planter box in the spot where the oak tree used to be, before it was killed by Tussock Moths. We planted patty-pan squash, Tuscan Melon, blue pole beans, strawberries, and corn. One day, in early summer, she went outside to water the garden, and found the corn destroyed—the stalks bent, cobs on the ground, husks still green, every kernel gone. I watched her face from inside the house. She called me, and I walked slowly, counting each step, through the back door, across the grass. When finally I arrived, she asked, what happened? I said, the squirrels must have got them.

I’d eaten every unripe cob, one at a time, until I was sick. The kernels were hard, and each bite hurt my teeth, but I was curious to know if the next one would taste as bad as the one before. Mom never planted corn again. She says, the squirrels will just eat them before they’re ripe.

About the Author

Morgan Corona · University of California, Santa Cruz

Morgan Corona graduated with a literature degree from UC Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in Matchbox Magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader, and is forthcoming in Miramar. She currently attends the MFA in creative writing program at Oregon State University. “Don’t Pick Corn Before It’s Ripe and Other Lessons” first appeared in Matchbox Magazine
About the Artist

Jessica Ashworth · Marshall University

Jessica Ashworth holds a degree in Art and Design from Marshall University, where her emphasis was on ceramics and photography. “Grandma’s Cupcake Stand” first appeared in Et Cetera.