Cissy’s hiding in the loo from her mum. Who’s telling me her book club says she’s a saint. They marvel at the years she’s spent taking Cissy to doctors, hospitals, clinics. Years of no diagnosis, no answer, no respite. They swoon over her sacrifice of a career to homeschool her daughter. She tells me Cissy’s symptoms are unpredictable. No one can pinpoint a trigger. The toilet flushes twice. Is that a signal for me to do something, say something? Cissy’s mum doesn’t miss a beat as she describes the deluge: rash, fever, stomach ache. Nothing fatal, mind. Cissy’s even managed a scholarship to uni. Even though her mum said that uni would kill her, or worse. The first month was hard, with one late night visit to the clinic. Where she met me studying for my midwifery course. Now after 10 weeks at uni, Cissy is symptom free. Except for today’s vomiting incident, after she answered our front door. Her mum says it’s a complete mystery.
is the haibun editor of Modern Haiku, the co-editor of Wishbone Moon:
An Anthology of Haiku by Women (Jacar Press, 2018), and the author of three
award-winning poetry collections, including The Unworn Necklace, which
received a finalist book award from the Poetry Society of America. Her collection
of prose poetry, Deflection (Accents Publishing, 2015), was named a National
Poetry Month Best Pick by Washington Independent Review of Books.
Her writing has appeared in Rattle, KYSO Flash, 100 Word Story, Cultural
Weekly, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and is also featured in
A Companion to Poetic Genre (John Wiley & Sons, 2011) and Haiku In
English: The First Hundred Years (W. W. Norton, 2013).
Roberta Beary identifies as gender-expansive and writes to connect with the
disenfranchised. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, Frank Stella,
and tweets her photoku and micro-poetry on Twitter [at] shortpoemz.
You can also find her on Facebook:
art of brevity, an interview by Ciara Moynihan in Mayo News
(22 January 2019)
Lunch Break, a haibun by Beary in Rattle (#56,
Summer 2017), Tribute to Poets with Mental Illness; includes audio (17 July 2017)
one of more than a dozen of Beary’s works which appear in KYSO Flash;
for a list of others, see the KF Index of Contributors.