first school day
through the open window
chatter of children
the steady thrum
of a ceiling fan
I like it here. I have a little mat with my name on it. For nap-time. Some of the children have trouble settling down but not me. Here is no shouting, no loud noises. Sister Ellie is nice. She has a button nose, smiley lips. And freckles, like I do. When she sees me knot my shoelaces, she doesn’t call me stupid or a moron. She doesn’t yell that I’m a brat. Instead she shows me how to make one lace into a bow, then the other, before looping them together. So they look like a ribbon. Sister Ellie says I can practice if I want but that I don’t have to, because I’m a quick learner.
After school, I want to show Mother that I can tie my shoelaces. But she says she’s busy and to show my brother instead. When I knock on his door, he yells at me to go away. I know not to bother my father when the ice bucket is almost empty. Like it is today. I knew that even before Sister Ellie taught me how to tie my laces.
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.
Featured Guest: Roberta Beary on Rattlecast 133 hosted by
Tim Green, editor of Rattle poetry journal (YouTube, 28 February 2022)
Featured Author: Roberta Beary in MacQueen’s
Quinterly (Issue 12, March 2022)
Roberta Beary, haiku poet and editor, on writing Haibun, interview
with Mike Rehling, editor of Failed Haiku (YouTube, 8 February 2021)
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)