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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Micro-Fiction: 226 words
By Roberta Beary

Bon Secours Mother & Baby Home


Yesterday the baby put her head between the crib slats. Howled like a wild animal. A creature caught in a trap. Everything here is secondhand. This thin yellow blanket wouldn’t warm a mouse. I don’t know how I got here. Stuck in this place with a baby they won’t let me name. I want to go backwards. Be the girl I was. Walk out the door of this home that isn’t a home. But where would I go? And when I got there, who would I be?

My baby belongs with me, skin on skin. When she’s with the nuns a part of me is missing. Sister Mary’s black eyes follow me to the laundry. She says the agency will come for my baby. But I’ve sneaked a letter. Back home. Begging them to send for us.

I close my eyes. See the place beyond Da’s farm where roses grow wild. Some a bold red. Some pale. Some on their own. Some intertwined. I whisper in my baby’s ear. We’ll go as soon as they send for us. They must send for us. That night Sister Mary pulls my baby from my arms, bundles her into Father O’Brien’s car. I cradle my baby’s yellow blanket down to the laundry. My hands hold it under the water until it stops crying.

Roberta Beary’s
Issue 8, June 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/

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