Five Pieces of Micro Fiction


March 15, 2015 by The Citron Review

by Heather Bourbeau


The photographs told the whole story. Not the smile, pucker, pout, smile, not-so-candid pose most photographs are these days. The hyperawareness of everything documented, not lived, was absent. Here were photos of her sleeping curled onto one side of his bed, sunning herself with the cat in the kitchen, crying almost imperceptibly as she drew a bath, reading presidential biographies, slipping into the little black dress that made her feel not so much sexy as empowered, in her skin. No need for push-ups or surgery to pass, no fear that only this man will love her for her real self.


Crown of Moths
The moths would circle around her head like a cream and grey gossamer crown, reminding the townspeople that she was not fully of this world, that she walked among the living and the ancestors. Instinctively, the women protected her; the men feared and desired her. She seemed unaware of the attention her flowing hair, almond eyes and crown aroused, instead delighting in the play and love offered her, translating the wing-language of her other kin. Until the night she curled into herself, only to emerge, twelve days later, transformed—taller, rounder, with wings of brown and orange—and flew away.


He cut the bay laurel as if he were the one at war, battling the branches, clearing a path never imagined. Gone only 53 days, his brother was returning with one medal and no legs. “Unfair” was an inadequate adjective that no one used, but everyone thought. The pungent leaves reminded him of night walks—brothers guided by the scent, the stars peeking through the cover to light a path toward the valley—and of the sweet smell of rain on trees, dripping slowly onto earth browned by drought. Earth his brother defended. Earth to which they all will return.


We walked out in the thick Tule fog to find the remains. Workers, drones and queen—all dead. Almonds did not stop their bloom to mourn; the pollination window was not long. After that, our farm would be gone too. We were not alone.

He was the most popular man in the Central Valley—with his live bees and wild hair. I hated his leaving before he even arrived. While his bees transferred pollen from anther to stigma, my legs wound round his waist, his words round my heart. Ten thousand deaths and one man stole me from this land.


The Charcoal Maker
The irony was not lost—the conservationist become charcoal maker. He knew more than anyone the value of this wood he cut, collected, and burned down into fuel. The conflict was not meant to last; it was only posturing between weakened men, so they said. Blockades, rubbled homes, impromptu funerals, and the shrinking forest told a less optimistic story. The first night he was sent, he thought only of the heat that would keep his family alive. The second night, he thought of his community. By the eighth, he cried and apologized softly to the trees and his children’s children.


Heather Bourbeau is a Berkeley-based writer. She was a Tupelo Press 30/30 poet, a journalist whose work appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times and Foreign Affairs, and a former Political Affairs Officer with the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia. Her first collection of poetry, Daily Palm Castings, profiles people in overlooked professions.


One thought on “Five Pieces of Micro Fiction

  1. […] “Five Pieces of Micro Fiction” in Citron Review – […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
67 days to go.

🍋 Instagram

We love inventive flash fiction at The Citron Review. Today's highlight is "Knitting." Carla Scarano D'Antonio obtained her Degree of Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She self-published a poetry pamphlet, A Winding Road, and is working on a PhD on Margaret Atwood at University of Reading. She also contributes as a reviewer for The Blue Nib, London Grip, Write Out Loud, South and The /temz/ Review. #amreading #thecitronreview #summerissue #knittingstories #flashfiction
Our Creative Nonfiction Editor and playwright, Nathan Robert Elliott will have an actors' reading of his new play in Montréal at the Bibliothèque publique de Westmount Public Library on July 27 at 1:30pm.
We have some happy news to share! The Citron Review contributor Amye Archer has joined our Creative Nonfiction editorial team. Let's welcome her! Amye Archer - Author of Fat Girl, Skinny: A Memoir, and is the co-editor of If I Don't Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2019). She holds an MFA from Wilkes University. Amye's work has been published in Scary Mommy, Longreads, Feminine Collective, Brevity, Marie Claire, and more. Amye is mom to twin daughters and wife to Tim. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. Follow her at @amyearcher #briefliterature #cheerstotenyears #amreading #TheCitronReview #creativenonfiction
We're pleased to highlight creative nonfiction from Julie Watson. "Odds Are" is now available in our Summer Issue. #amreading #flashcnf #summerissue #cheersto10years
Anita Goveas, @raspberrybakewell, has fiction featured in our Summer Issue. #amreading #flashfiction #summerissue #cheersto10years
New Flash Fiction from Mary Grimm, who has published a novel, Left to Themselves and a collection of stories, Stealing Time (which are both on Random House). She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.…/…/21/the-dream-of-her-long-dying/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #Summer2019 #flashfiction #cheersto10years

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: