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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Micro-CNF: 325 words
By Roberta Beary

Sunday Miscellany


The phone is vibrating on the nightstand in the guest bedroom where I leave it at night so I’m not tempted since 9PM is my absolute deadline, unless it’s Nina or Nathan who never call, they only text or FaceTime, if they did call, they know they can anytime, even at 4AM, because if you grew up hearing your mother would throw herself in front of a train to save you, as I told them, sometimes separately, sometimes together, though I’ve stopped telling them now that they’re in their thirties and how they got so old, I have no idea, but if you’d been told I’d throw myself in front of a train to save you, what is a phone call after 9PM though I am already in my cat pajamas, which is off topic and happens more since I’ve entered the sinecure of my sixties.

The phone hasn’t stopped vibrating, which means my sister is calling to tell me bad news, she knows no other kind, though I’m too worn out to talk to her, and I’ve told her 1,000 times not to call after 9PM, which is the absolute cut-off for each of my siblings, including my two brothers, but not for Nina and Nathan for reasons already given about the train, which I forgot to mention is a runaway train, and throwing myself in front of it to save them is only a memory of their childhood, filed away like a Sunday miscellany that causes a slight embarrassment, still they ask even now in their thirties, sometimes separately, sometimes together, would you still throw yourself in front of a train to save me?

Of course, I say, that’s how mothers are wired although I don’t know about all mothers, I have my doubts about some, speaking of which, I will call my sister back not tonight but tomorrow, I know she likes to sleep in and most likely won’t answer.

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/

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Roberta Beary, haiku poet and editor, on writing Haibun, interview on YouTube (8 February 2021) with Mike Rehling, editor of Failed Haiku

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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