Micros by Meg Pokrass


Lake House


He said the mole on my nose reminded him of his grandmother’s button collection. “The oddly colored ones I wanted to steal,” he smiled.

This made me happy. Since my husband had given up his lover, I was finding reasons to like us again. While my mole was changing color and shape, I sometimes locked myself in the bathroom, trying to deflate my frizzy hair. In a Facebook photo, his former lover’s bangs swept smoothly over an unlined forehead.

“You really remember your grandmother’s buttons?”

“With affection, although I never told her I felt it,” he said. He looked around the room, as if addressing her ghost. Since he’d been laid off from the hospital, he paced.

“It’s amazing that you still remember her buttons,” I said, poking at my mole, reddening it up.

“Don’t mess with it before lunchtime honey, he said. “It’s beautiful just as it is.”

“The growth is normal? I mean, just last week, it was the size of a pin?”

“You’re so hard on yourself,” he said.

I didn’t say that it felt attached to bone.

We had recently sold the house at the lake, a home we planned to grow old in. He said it needed cosmetic work, and where would we get the money?

In bed he pecked me on my colorful cheek, then rolled over like a tired old bear. I was used to our nighttime ritual, and rolled over on my better side like a timid animal, but I couldn’t decide which animal I was.

“Our lives aren’t so terrible,” he said.

How much it comforted me, that he kept a close eye on that side of my face, as if it held a secret about our future.





The homeless guy looked like a grey puddle on the library steps. The pigeons had confused him, he said, which was why he fell. I helped him up from where he had fallen, his nose next to a plastic fork. He said he spent his days trying to figure the birds out, would you know it, the way they flap until they no longer know where they’re going.

I told him that my sister used to sit on the steps of the library and feed the pigeons too, she was very old, and very gentle, and sometimes she fell, so I knew what he meant.

I didn’t know what to do for him. I had never known what to do for my sister.

“Is she gentle?” he asked me. “Kind of numb,” I said, “but way too gentle. Her life flew past her before she could catch it.” I was used to offering kind people lacerated bits, saying and not saying the real stuff.

The top of his head was bald, but he had a braid which came way down near his butt. I wanted to tell him more about my sister and her last days in a shelter, but the birds were landing again, a dangerous looking family of them, very close to where we sat, pecking at gunk on the steps.

How can these birds survive on this crap? I thought, pulling him away from their shit, wondering if anyone had ever tugged on his heart like a church bell.



Meg Pokrass is the author of 8 flash fiction collections, including Spinning to Mars (Blue Light Book Award, 2021) and The Loss Detector (Bamboo Dart Press, 2020). Her work was included in The Best Small Fictions, 2022 and the Wigleaf Top 50, and has been anthologized in 3 Norton anthologies of flash fiction: Flash Fiction International, New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, and Flash Fiction America. She is the Series Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.



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