God Is in Agriculture by Vincent Scarpa
Tony Granik looks up at the silo, that blue angel of death, then over the acres that reach out as far as drowning arms. It’s two weeks until harvest, and he knows the corn hasn’t gotten the attention it needs. He knows that during growing season, corn is like a newborn baby, that it needs love and water and a close eye kept on it. Granik knows all the variables of a year’s work: fertile soil, good drainage, full sun, space and infestation. Babies grow for nine months, corn for ninety days, and Tony Granik finds out in two weeks which will harvest better. Which, if either, will be worth the investment.
He eats lukewarm oatmeal from a chipped bowl on the porch. The splintered planks of wood are decaying, struggling to support weight. His wife, Linda, sees him from the kitchen window. She’s washing dishes even though she’s on bedrest.
The Graniks try for a child every few years when the crop is good. Linda’s due with their first child in two weeks, the same time as the harvest. The days have been dry in Indiana. Tony doesn’t have faith in the corn, not an ounce of it.
Linda can’t reach the top of the cabinets, and drops a bowl when she tries. Its pieces break apart on the linoleum, some sliding underneath the refrigerator. Tony hears the noise from the porch and runs inside to see Linda.
“I dropped a bowl,” she says. “And don’t start.”
He gets on all fours to pick up the pieces. “You shouldn’t even be up, Linda,” he says. “You’ve got a week left.” Tony gathers the pieces like a mosaic and throws them in the garbage.
From the window, he sees the corn stalks unwavering like rotted architecture. Linda gets the feeling the crop will fail this season, too. That the silo will be foreclosed on, maybe their house. She knows a child will be in the picture, this one of corn and loss and God, and even though she’s worried, she grabs another bowl and runs it under warm water, holding it tighter this time, with two hands.
“God Is in Agriculture” originally appeared in the inaugural print issue of apt.
Vincent Scarpa is completing his BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, where he is the Assistant Fiction Editor for The Emerson Review. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Vestal Review, Monkeybicycle, decomP, The Emerson Review, and Plain China: Best of Undergraduate Writing. He also freelances for publications including The Buzz About, Performer Magazine, The Berkeley Beacon, Art Faccia, and Scene-Stealers.