Roberta Beary

Three Poems

First Lesson

As a child I love playing dress up.
I lust after my brother’s cowboy outfit,
right down to his shiny tin star.
But I’m not allowed to wear boy clothes.
Not even my brother’s.
I have to settle for being a princess.

twist of the telescope androgynous moon



born this way …
the orientation
of winter stars



My water breaks.
It’s all systems go.

obstetrics ―
second star
to the right

No one looks at me.
A wheelchair rolls
to exam rm. 1.

metal stirrups …
sinking deeper
into neverland

My blood work
We do a redo
as veins collapse.

hazmat bin ―
nurse smee’s
this won’t hurt

All hands on deck.
A white coat pops in.

amniotic rain
c/o capt. hook

My belly sliced open.
A necklace of loops
color code blue.

morphine …
the weight
of fairy dust

Neonate needs
help to breathe.
Needs must.

bed rest
straight on
’til morning


“First Lesson” first appeared in Presence, Issue 53; “Haiku” in Acorn, Issue 36; and “Neverland” in Frogpond, Issue 37.3. Reprinted with permission of the author.



Roberta Beary is the author of three books of poems: Deflections (Accents Publishing, 2015), nothing left to say (King's Road Press, 2009) and The Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press, 2007, reissued 2011, which was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America annual book awards). Beary is the editor of the haiku anthologies fresh paint (Red Moon Press, 2014), 7 (Jacar Press, 2013), dandelion clocks (Haiku Society of America, 2008) and fish in love (Haiku Society of America, 2006).