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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Microfiction: 294 words
“Triple-Q” Challenge
By Roberta Beary

The Ultimate Guide to Exercise,
or How I Spend My Weekend



Although I should be doing my exercise routine, only seven minutes, all standing, no sitting, nothing on the floor, that’s why it’s called the Standing Exercise Workout, which to be honest should be followed by For Lazy People Who Are Out of Shape, and besides I’m busy watching a webinar of querulous colleagues say, you’re muted, you’re muted, you’re still muted, which is just another way of saying I can multitask but choose not to.


Although the window view is wet winter gloom there’s a gold skirt of leaves on the quobbled-limbed birch swaying like a topless dancer in a quinzie and if I had done my Standing Exercise Workout 15 minutes ago I’d be done twice over with a minute to spare, but my husband made the coffee which means it’s drinkable and the last quesadilla is calling my name, and exercise is just another word for work the guy down the block told me once, the one my husband calls a philanderer, which is just another way of saying on the make.


Although my husband is ten years older he does calisthenics, which in case you’re wondering, rely on a person’s own body weight, whatever that means, and were developed in ancient Greece, regaining popularity in the early 19th century, and if you think that’s boring and enough to put a woman’s quahog out of kilter, imagine moving through the torpid zone of morning mouth stumbling around underwear drawers in your pjs trying to sidestep the mat and the body on it doing pushups without a quibble all perky cheerful, and that’s the quiddity of marriage in a nutshell, which is just another way of saying opposites attract.


—One of 12 Finalists in MacQ’s “Triple-Q” Writing Challenge

Roberta Beary’s
Issue 11, January 2022

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.

Author’s website: https://robertabeary.com/news/

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

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, Ireland.

The 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)

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