Baking Red Delicious
Kate Hill Cantrill

Stefan woke. He had to bake something. It was that sort of day, the way the sun poked through the storm of clouds, jester-like, waving beams by his hot face—boasting power, control, the gift that is light. Stefan saw apples, the type that sell cheap in rickety crates. He is an old man and in that truth he understands the sun and his immodest glow. I peel apples! Stefan said, as he dove his fist through the column of dust set afire by the light shone into his kitchen. He sat at the table and peeled the waxed red away from the meat—the true heart of the fruit.

He sat for so many hours the sun tired and withdrew his old beams. Stefan laughed. I have the core of a young man! I have enough naked fruit to bake pies for a lifetime! He sliced a lemon, held half in his great gnarled hand and squashed citrus over the bushel to keep it from browning—to sustain the short life of the knurled, pulpy bodies in the bowl on his table—until the crust was prepared to take them to the next world, the world that is lovely, the one of sweet pies.

Kate Hill Cantrill's work has appeared in Sleepingfish, DIAGRAM, Story Quarterly, The Believer and many others. Her first novel will be published next year.

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Leo Reynolds.

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