A State of Great Fullness

When she was little, she thought being full meant being filled, head to toe, with food. Orange juice in her lungs. Tiny strawberry seeds floating in her veins. Curved bits of macaroni lodged in the notches of her spine.

Older now, being full meant something else. It was the pain of something tiny and untouchable tucked under a rib; the brush of a butterfly wing against a full bladder; the jab of toes and feet and elbows and a round skull from the inside, distending her stomach like putty.

And later—after—she knew what it meant to be empty.


Ciera Burch is an MFA candidate at Emerson College in Boston. Her piece was inspired by a prompt in her short short fiction class taught by Pamela Painter, who was in turn inspired by this website. Find her at @CieraBurch017 on Twitter and @cburch17 on Instagram.

Photo Credit: Dawn Endico

7 Responses to “A State of Great Fullness”

  1. Brigida says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. It is a mother’s joy and loss. It takes a true talent to do it in 100 words.

  2. Kia says:

    Ms. Burch.
    I have literally, just minutes ago, discovered you, by way of a Dr. Jackie Douge of Frederick, MD. She is sponsoring a book signing and live discussion of “Finch House”. My daughter is 13. She has a parade Aug 27, so we will miss what is sure to be a tantalizing event based on Finch House’s teaser. I plan to preorder “Something Kindred” for her (and myself)!

    As for a “State of Great Fullness”…what a poignant description of being “full”… the simple fullness of childhood to the painful (and beautiful) fullness(es) of adulthood, motherhood, womanhood, personhood.

    I am a nearly 50 yo mother of 3, but that is not ALL that I am or have been.

    Bravo, young lady, to write something so provocative at such a young age.

  3. Pamela Painter says:

    Ciera, thanks for the shout out. “A State of Great Fullness” is a great story. Keep writing Flash fiction. CHEERS to you.

  4. Fonz says:

    magnificent! I literally felt empty along with the character at the end of the story. What a gripping story!!!

  5. jon remington says:

    Love how open it all ends.

  6. Nigel says:

    You paint such a vivid picture with your words! Great story!

  7. Lakiesha says:

    This was amazing… I held my breath throughout and would have rather died than for it to end! I need more…

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