Notes on the Micros

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April 2, 2023 by The Citron Review

This week’s notes are written in a series of 100 word drabbles. Because why not! It’s a gosh darn fun challenge. Even little bits of good intention add up.

Whether it’s creative nonfiction, poetry, or fiction that brings you closer to your truth, I hope you’ll consider sending it our way. In this space, your brief micros continue to speak volumes. As an editor, I love celebrating found freedom alongside hard truths spoken to power. Show me pieces that reveal what makes you you. No one should silence you, not politicians and certainly not those fearful voices from the shadows.


In class, we talked about minutiae. In every class, we talk about minutiae. How much is too much? How much too little? How many times can we say minutiae before it loses its significance entirely? There’s so little room for minutiae in a hundred words. There’s hardly room for repetition. The back-to-back-to-back classes take it out of me repeatedly, whatever it is. As the teacher flapping my classroom arms and scribbling green on whiteboards with dried-out markers, I ought to be more specific about what’s missing. At the end of the day, it might be certainty. Maybe I’m just hungry.


Parking lot or street? Each choice has it’s challenges at my beloved library. When the diagonal street spots are full up, backing out into traffic is a roll of the dice. Knock wood, cross fingers, and hope not to die because distracted drivers are motoring up that hill. On the flipside, the lot is tighter than tight. Every spot is too narrow and the row behind you is close enough to suspect civil engineers had never been consulted. Motoring up that hill, uncertainty is erased. Every street parking space is available, snow piles have melted. The sun pinks the sky.


It’s Doris Day parking for me. Right at the foot of the front steps, I pull my bumper up to the curb. A slight kiss chafes, but whatever will be, will be.

A jaw unhinges from twenty paces. The parking lot has animated a bellowing shadow.

“You’re kidding me!” says the shadow.

You’re startled into second person. Had you taken up two spaces? Did you cut someone off in traffic? Was the shadow on a hands-free call with another shadow? Why must we fear everyone and everything these days?

You skip up steps, yanking open the heaviest door in town.


The shadow did not enter the library. It was objecting to something unknown, but it didn’t follow me. Maybe it got hungry and left. Or disappeared.

What felt important was going into the library. It’s something essential now. In states around the U.S., legislators are threatening our freedom of speech by attempting to ban books or dissolve libraries entirely. Supporting those amazing librarians and clerks who bring us the world is more important than ever. We must seek out the stories and art which fearful shadows want to erase. We mustn’t be afraid. Our literary magazines shouldn’t be afraid either.


These micros push back against barking shadows. We may hear, Don’t talk about the environment, but Jolie Kaytes brings us the entire “Hydrologic Cycle” while Kim Steutermann Rogers’ displaced deer is explored in “Oh, I Don’t Know, Maybe He Entered Grandmother’s Cottage Because.” D.E. Hardy’s “Today Is the Youngest We’ll Ever Be Again” is unapologetic about aging. J.B. Stone’s “Ceiling Fan Blues” allows us to discover our own belief systems. Librarian/writer Janna Miller’s “A Universe in a Jar” considers monuments for our own liminality. Peter Krumbach’s “Beach Town at the End of Summer,” celebrates nature’s simple pleasures, amidst human frailty.


We mustn’t fear those shadows. Instead, we must continue shining light on bigotry, reading taboo topics. Fearful shadows can inspire us to protect our friends, our family, our neighbors. Let’s take this support to the next level, readers, submitters, voters, writers, let’s embrace anyone who has been/are being silenced.

Banned books will be read voraciously. Art forms under fire like drag must continue to bring people together. Whenever a fearful shadow seeks to deny people’s rights to exist, the more we must celebrate each other. To answer your loudest question, aggressive shadow, I am not kidding you, not a bit.


JR Walsh
Online Editor
The Citron Review



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