sporklet 15

D. Rodriguez


Sharpen your knife. It is the first and only step necessary to make something into something else.


Turn one: Before turn one is the peeling.
Turn one: Cut in half.
Turn two: Into quarters.
Turn three: Face to the cutting board, into chunks.


No one has ever made the time to tell me how cinnamon tastes but I know because it used to be
me brown and dried in the sun. A pantry a plastic container—we like using canela but as a
shorthand for sweet it turns ashy like chalk.


Turn four: The generations you stepped
over before cannot be stepped over
here. Repeat for four generations as
flavor builds with heat and time.
Turn five: Preservation belongs and
begins outside of you or the knife.
It starts in the orchard and the sweat
to produce. Remember and
forget this as others have
remembered and forgotten you.


Turn six: There is acid in this rolling
boil so only forged metal will do.
Turn seven: Is as much what you do
as what you in-between. This takes
more time than you have been given but
cannot be stopped once you have started.
For three or four generations, hours will do.


Coring is the process by which a perfectly round object and hollow cuts at the heart of you for
fertilizer. It is what grows from you that can be harvested and this includes the water suspended
in your sinews or held together between veins by surface tension. In comes metal object out
comes posterity but your flesh is for the pot.


Turn seven: True crime in the
warm care of a simmer.
Turn seven: Push down lumps
into the bottom searing away
the inconsistent. Knowing
they will rise again repeat
again with more eternal
brute force.


Breaking the fibers down I look for sickeningly sweet juice to gather on the backside of my
wooden spoon. Costly in time and patience but the violence drawn out cuts out the fat and leaves
sugar crystals that stick to your bones.


Turn seven: It takes only one
apple for a sour undercurrent
at the back of your tongue.
Cook until the wax of skin
turns to gelatin and binds
the preserves together in a mass
unmoving but responsive. Stir.


Preserves keep the ripe fruit available for winter but the true cook masterminds ripe fruit
whenever he wants it. We were available always because we saw our ripeness as a stasis

God-given but never thought to see how the knife juices.


Turn one: When you pick those
picking the trees pay
attention to the deftness
of their fingertips
and wrists shaking
and pruning. They are
teaching the branches
to grow firmer the apples
to find their roots their veins
to toughen like steel
under a steady flame.

D. Rodriguez is a writer currently living in Miami, Florida. She has contributed to No Tender Fences: An Anthology of Immigrant & First-Generation American Poetry. She can be found on Twitter @bustingfleets.