“Lunch Break” by Roberta Beary

Roberta Beary


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

from Rattle #56, Summer 2017
Tribute to Poets with Mental Illness


Roberta Beary: “‘Nervous breakdown’ was the euphemism whispered at home when I was a child. Locked doors, routine when I was growing up, failed to hide my mother’s crying jags. I had no way then to alleviate the pain that could not be named. When my turn came, I knew what to do. Get help. It worked. No more suffering in silence. No more illnesses not to be named. When things get better—and they do get better—I write about it. So that others know they are not alone.” (web)

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