“I’m moving out,” James says. I want to kneel, grab his leg, hang on. Beg him not to go. He steers me to the sofa. Hands me a white handkerchief. Says her name is Jasmine. My mind shuffles faces. Pauses on the office quink, black glasses, pristine lab coat. Then a series of images on endless loop. Side-by-side at the holiday party. Her fingernail flicking lint off his jacket. Laughing as they handed out the eggnog. I watch James, a suitcase under each arm. There’s a jauntiness in his step I despise.
The duckling struggles to keep up. Quink, quink, quink, it calls. The mother circles back. Nudges her youngest towards its siblings, under the footbridge. The azaleas in bloom. A little girl in a unicorn shirt. I lower the blinds. A year ago we put a decal on the wall, to mark the spot for the crib. When I came home from the hospital the pink unicorn was gone. A sudden pain fills my belly. On and off cramps since James left yesterday. It must be my period. But when I check there’s only a few dots of blood. I curl against the bathroom’s cool tiles. Close my eyes.
James came by yesterday with the pencil case I kept in the glove compartment. First time in three months. After he left, I fished out my old fountain pen and Quink® cartridges. Uncapped the pen and gave it a good shake. Circled October 15 in blue on the calendar. Some things about him I don’t miss. Like how he got rid of the unicorn decal. Yesterday he never even looked at me. I was sure he doesn’t know. But today this envelope came. A blue one this time. I’ve already put it up on the wall, to mark the place for the crib.
—One of three Finalists in MacQ’s
Quink Writing Challenge
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.
You can also find her on Facebook:
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)
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.