Notes on the Fiction SelectionsLeave a comment
April 2, 2023 by The Citron Review
In my corner of the northeastern United States, we haven’t exactly hit Spring yet.
The shores of Lake Ontario aren’t frozen, but Winter’s skies still seem to be threatening a thousand years of darkness. It’s too cold to drink coffee on my front porch without a coat and scarf. The howling wind hasn’t given way to peaceful relaxing nights, at least not two in a row. I’ve heard that some people sleep through it, but those people were talking about it at around three in the morning. As I’m writing this, It’s started sleeting again, but it’s a light, contemplative sleet.
It seems appropriate that our Spring Issue has come out a few weeks past the calendar’s seasonal declaration. Or else that’s what I keep telling myself.
There are some indicators of Spring. Those crusty snow piles are almost gone from the corners of driveways. I haven’t heard a 6 a.m. snowblower in weeks. Most hearteningly, the starlings are back. I was supposed to plug up their nesting space this Winter, but didn’t. Too many birds are dying. I will justify this to your face or to the face of the starling peaking out of the hole in our back porch ceiling. This starling has already been singing his twitchy Check out my nest! This could be your nest! song. It’s a banger.
I’m not sure when the bird’s mate will start their own interior design, but soon enough we may be crossing fingers that some new little cheeps will avoid plummeting to their deaths and everyone will make it to their murmuration and it’ll be Winter again.
This issue’s collection of flash fiction also walks lines of life and death, of love and becoming loved in this world, Dustin M. Hoffman’s “Deficit” recalls the big risks we’ve taken and gives humanity another chance. Chelsea Stickle gives the haunted several chances in “A Fucking Steal.” In Cameron Green’s “Goldmouth,” we explore whether laughing is appropriate or merely warranted, and when the lie is a truth while the truth is a lie.
It’s the cold truth of profound loss that holds us tight “In the Garden” by Melissa Benton Barker. We can allow wildness to be wild, not as an act of neglect, but rather of caretaking, of cultivation, of remembrance. Further, Elizabeth Schmermund ‘s “How to deadhead hydrangea” gives us a step-by-step approach to abandon sorting life and death into separate categories. Symbiosis is at the heart of nature, though she reminds us, we “must live through the winter first.” Having a more methodical approach might help Mandira Pattnaik’s searching narrator in “In Leaping” but in reality, when we are forced to focus on situation at hand it’s hard to remember all that are and all we might be.
Being a curator of these particular selections, I felt them closely. Dear readers, I’d like to sing to you, Check out my nest! While I sit here in front of my computer screen hoping that those damn birds fly free and eat the grubs out of our patchy old lawn. I’m also hoping that we all remember who we can be, who we might be for another season, even in the face of all the demands of our time, all that threatens us. I’d like to invite you to submit your little birds for a future issue, your vulnerable, triumphant stories, the ones that sing, the ones that mourn, the ones that seek to join the murmuration. This could be your nest.
The Citron Review