“Irish Twins” and other poems by Roberta Beary


Your eyes are big and round like your father’s

but while his are the color of the Irish Sea

yours are the color of the muddy fields

on my father’s land

fit only for the peasants who worked them.

abortion day
a shadow flutters
the fish tank

Publication credit: Rattle #47, Spring 2015 (ed. Timothy Green)


Lunch Break

The fridge is empty. Which means someone stole my sandwich. And stuck me with this blueberry yogurt. Expiration date two weeks ago. Who stole my lunch. Or is it at home. Retrace my steps. Retrace. Did I take my lunch off the counter. I’m not sure. I was in a hurry. I set the alarm. Remember setting the alarm. Did I lock the door. I’m sure I did. I set the alarm and locked the door. My stomach is making weird noises. I’m starving. A slightly dated yogurt should be okay. Or maybe not. I might get sick. Salmonella, E.coli. I know the symptoms. Fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps. I’m feeling queasy. It’s this yogurt staring at me. I’ll move it. Behind the baking soda. Where no one looks. If I’m not careful, this job will kill me. It really will. Kill me. I remember setting the alarm. Did I lock the door. I’m sure I did. I’m sure.

black fly
on the cutting board
last night’s dream

Publication credit: Rattle #56, Summer 2017 (ed. Timothy Green)


Irish Twins

attic rain
the backyard swing
off kilter

We share an attic room. In the corner is an old double bed that smells and sags on one side. My side. Late at night I hear my heart beat. Loud. So loud he will hear it. He will think my heart is calling him up the attic stairs. His footsteps are heavy. He smells of old spice and cherry tobacco. My eyes shut tight. I know he is there. I feel his weight. Never on my side. Always on the side she sleeps. When the bed-springs sing their sad song I fly away. Up to the ceiling. My sister is already there. Together we hold hands. Looking down we see our bodies. We are not moving. We are as still as the dead.

Publication credit: #MeToo Anthology ed. Deborah Alma (Fair Acre Press, 2018)


Dear Nancy Drew

It’s me. Your newest author.

I’m here to tell you it’s time. To come out.
Of the closet you’ve spent decades in.
It must be getting old.

How long is Girl George willing to wait?
Or is Bess the one?
Whatever. Anything is possible.
That’s why they call it fiction.

I’ve known for ages Ned Nickerson is window dressing.
Clever of my predecessors to use code.
Ned keeps his knickers on. Get it?

Hannah the housekeeper can’t be trusted.
She’ll sell your sorry ass to the tabloids soon.
Anything can happen. It’s called fiction.

Don’t go running to daddy.
Carson Drew, famous lawyer, no can do. Not in my book.
I can write anything I want about you. Even haiku:

mirror moon—
her lover’s face shifts
in its frame

I hope I’ve impressed you with my writing props.

Back to you. I have it on good authority. You were born this way.
A Carolyn Keene pseudonym tried to out you.
She got canned.

They can’t get rid of me that fast. I’ve already got the title:
Nancy Drew, Lipstick Lesbian.

It only takes one writer. One page. One voice.

Sincerely yours,
Carolyn Keene

Publication credit: KYSO Flash Issue 6 Fall 2016 (ed. Clare MacQueen)



i was just a kid in those days and he was one of the bad boys the nuns warn you about and my old man told me stay far away from that one but i couldn’t help myself and when i saw him he was walking up to me with his marlboros tucked under his tee-shirt like marlon brando with those biceps and his hair smelled of his last smoke and he kissed me one of those long kisses that just ooze out of you and shake up your insides at the same time but what did i know back then not enough

which is why he’ll always be the one that got away

last call
a ceiling fan stirs
the tip jar

Publication credit: Lighting the Global Lantern, ed. Terry Ann Carter (Wintergreen Studios Press, 2011)


Irish Twins and other poems are © Roberta Beary

Roberta Beary identifies as gender-expansive and writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. She is the author of Deflection (Accents, 2015), nothing left to say (King’s Road Press, 2009) and The Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press, 2007, 5th ed. 2017) which was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America annual book awards. Beary is the editor of the haiku anthologies Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press, 2018), fresh paint (Red Moon Press, 2014), 7 (Jacar Press, 2013), dandelion clocks (HSA, 2008) and fish in love (HSA, 2006). Her work appears in Rattle, KYSO Flash, Cultural Weekly, 100 Word Story, and Haiku In English The First Hundred Years (Norton, 2013). Beary’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net and multiple Pushcart Prizes. She lives in County Mayo, Ireland where she edits haibun for the journal Modern Haiku.
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