Tangled Strands

We read the report while the microwave nukes congealed takeaway. Not a firm mass, think tangled strands of Jello, the sarcoma specialist said. My voice cracks as I put on the kettle. “That’s why her cancer cells multiplied, the poison in that rubbish you call food.” My wife points her finger.

“Nothing to do with me. You started her smoking. Warned you, I did.” The kettle shrieks and she jumps, pulls the plug, her breasts grazing my face. We claw at each other, cursing our way into bed. Our lovemaking is feral, identical specimens caught in the same cage.

Roberta Beary identifies as gender-fluid, and writes to connect with other trauma survivors. Their prose poem “After You Self Medicate with Roethke’s The Waking Read by Text to Speech App” won 1st prize in the 2022 Bridport Prize. Their work appears in The New York Times, Rattle, MacQueen’s Quinterly, 100 Word Story, Litro Magazine, Atticus Review, and other publications. Their poetry collection, “The Unworn Necklace”, received a finalist award from Poetry Society of America. They are the haibun editor at Modern Haiku. Twitter: @shortpoemz. robertabeary.com.