The Charcoal Maker


September 23, 2019 by The Citron Review

by Heather Bourbeau

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’s fiction and poetry have been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Citron Review, CleaverEleven Eleven, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s Chalkboard, The Stockholm Review of Literature, and the anthologies Nothing Short Of 100: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story and America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience (Sixteen Rivers Press). She has worked with various UN agencies, including the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and UNICEF Somalia.


2 thoughts on “The Charcoal Maker

  1. […] overwhelming nausea, we drive blind to kingdom come. Stragglers are left beneath the beating sun. At an impromptu funeral, the earth will open easy for our shovels. A cloud of dust will kick up. Our sneeze will ricochet […]

  2. […] The charcoal maker  by Heather Bourbeau in the Citron Review […]

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