Two, Not-So-Random Visitors

A young AmeriCorps worker stops by looking for information about how small town Vermont government works and brings a crabapple pie he baked.

The pie is deep-dish, about the size of a dinner plate. He’s tall and cheerful and tells me about his dog named Mindy. Eventually, I give him a paper map and tell him to drive around town. I highlight one section of the map in yellow. Here, I tell him, is one especially beautiful stretch of dirt road, high above a lake. He’s driving his grandmother’s hand-me-down Toyota Corolla.

Good luck, I say as he leaves.

When he’s gone, a friend stops in, looking for town info, too. The sunlight comes through the windows. I offer her a piece of pie. We talk and talk. She finally says, I feel like I haven’t seen anyone in so long.

The strange thing is, I feel that way, too. We keep eating pie. The young baker has peeled the crabapples, one by one, to sweeten the pie. We eat the whole thing, and then I wash up the plates and forks.

There was earth inside them, and they dug.”

— Paul Celan
Hurray for autumn garden.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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