Logo, MacQueen's Quinterly
Listed at Duotrope
MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Micro-Fiction: 289 words
By Roberta Beary

Clapping Like Mad


I remember high school. Skinny dipping away the last days of summer. The pond near the Catholic boys school. How those boys loved when I raised my arms, pulled off my tee-shirt. One by one they put their hands together. Clapping like mad.

My first husband told me to cover up. Asked me why my breasts were so big. My legs so short. He bought me blouses at Brooks Brothers. Button downs that needed ironing. Gabardine skirts two sizes too big. Cardigans with wide shawl collars. Button up, he told me.

After our daughter was born my breasts ballooned. Even though he had me stop nursing, my breasts stayed big. I thought about leaving every day. But he left me. For someone who likes to cover up. Button up. I signed the papers. Threw out all my Brooks Brothers labels.

My second husband buys me sexy lingerie when he goes on business trips. Like this short red kimono. He likes tracing the fire-breathing dragon on the back. He says it’s up to me if I wear a bra. I haven’t worn one since we moved my daughter near her dad for college.

Today he’s coming back from one of his trips. I change into the black silk boy shorts he bought me and the black camisole with the silver star. One that shines like a beacon below my breasts. I stand in front of the mirror till I hear a rumbling. The sound is muted, like a school band a few blocks away. Slowly it increases, until it seems they’re in the room standing beside me. The boys from Catholic school. Clapping like mad. They don’t stop until my husband’s car door slams in the driveway.

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/

Copyright © 2019-2023 by MacQueen’s Quinterly and by those whose works appear here.
Logo and website designed and built by Clare MacQueen; copyrighted © 2019-2023.
⚡   Please report broken links to: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡

At MacQ, we take your privacy seriously. We do not collect, sell, rent, or exchange your name and email address, or any other information about you, to third parties for marketing purposes. When you contact us, we will use your name and email address only in order to respond to your questions, comments, etc.