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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Micro-fiction: 324 words
By Roberta Beary

20 Things Mother Told Me, Ironing Father’s Shirts as
I Peeled Potatoes Waiting for My Boyfriend’s Call

  1. Don’t marry an older man, you think he’ll go first, but he won’t, to spite you.

  2. Brown isn’t your colour, although you think otherwise, you’re wrong.

  3. Be sure to put some of your own money aside that he knows nothing about, you’ll need it down the road.

  4. Use a clean spoon for jam, not your breadknife that has bits of butter on it.

  5. Men can’t help themselves.

  6. Take time to polish the silver, it’s very therapeutic.

  7. If you want to see your future, watch how your boyfriend treats his mother. He’ll treat you the same, one day.

  8. Cheap material looks cheap. Save up your money and buy only cotton, silk, or wool.

  9. Make sure your leather gloves are cashmere-lined. They last for years.

  10. There’s a reason your father goes on all those Holy Name Society retreats.

  11. Don’t drink or smoke. You don’t want to be that kind of woman.

  12. There are women who’ll go after your boyfriend while making out they’re your best friend. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

  13. Trousers emphasise your worst feature. You can’t go wrong in an A-line dress, not with those hips.

  14. Never put a man through school. He’ll show his thanks by leaving you years later for someone younger.

  15. There’s no harm in marrying a man who likes to cook. They do exist. You have to know where to look.

  16. There are other things in life besides children.

  17. You have your father’s body type so make sure your hem always falls below the knee. No need to thank me.

  18. Don’t buy silver-plate, you’ll regret it.

  19. Always read the care label instructions.

  20. The Jesuits teach them it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. That’s the one lesson they take to the grave.

Roberta Beary’s
Issue 6, January 2021

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

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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