The driver tells her about his heart condition. How he works the graveyard shift cleaning offices for the health insurance. A disabled wife and six children. She nods, spots the airport sign. Calculates the minutes. Not far. Breathes from her diaphragm. Feels her shoulders relax.
At the terminal she bestows her brightest smile on the driver. And quickly taps 5 stars. Stares at the tip options: 15%, 20%, 25%. Her fingers suddenly paralyzed. A plane close enough to make out the logo. Deep breaths, her father’s voice commands.
The morning news led with the prize-winning photo of her father. His uniform covered in debris as the first tower fell. The reporter had resurrected the old fire chief. Who called her father a hero. Said he last saw him pushing people towards the garage. It was all over in seconds, the chief said.
She sidesteps a puddle, its crushed cigarette doing the dead man’s float. Hands the driver a five. This is the city that never sleeps, she wants to tell him. Where everyone has a sob story.
second collection of short poems, Carousel, is co-winner of the Snapshot Press
2019 book award contest. Her first short-form collection, The Unworn Necklace,
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.
Long-time haibun editor of Modern Haiku, Ms. Beary is also co-editor of
Wishbone Moon: An Anthology of Haiku by Women (Jacar Press, 2018), and she
recently judged the Sable Books Haiku Contest for Women Book Award.
Her writing has appeared in Rattle, KYSO Flash, 100 Word Story, Cultural
Weekly, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and The New York Times, 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).
Ms. Beary lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, Frank Stella,
and tweets her photoku and micro-poetry on Twitter [at] shortpoemz.
Roberta Beary, haiku poet and editor, on writing Haibun, interview
on YouTube (8 February 2021) with Mike Rehling, editor of Failed Haiku
Tiny Love Stories in The New York Times (8 January
2019); scroll five stories down the page for Roberta Beary’s “Now
It’s All Fresh Fish” and her photograph of lobster traps in Clew Bay,
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)