Home Flash Fiction Flash Fiction—Amulets, by Roberta Beary

Flash Fiction—Amulets, by Roberta Beary

Portrait of an unknown woman, sketch for portrait in stained glass (1916) print in high resolution by Richard Roland Holst. Original from the Rijksmuseum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

Amulets, by Roberta Beary

I came across that picture of us.

An amulet slipped between pages. Collected Poems of Yeats.

You, who never read poetry, saw it on my Christmas list. The inscription with its funny pet name you bestowed. I’d know your bold script anywhere. Even after thirty years without you.

I came across that picture of our son.

Set aside in an envelope to send when we were speaking. He wears your shade of graduation blue. In real life, I don’t confuse you two. But how like you he looks in this amulet. One caterpillar eyebrow raised in permanent astonishment.

In ten years, he’ll be the same age as when you left.

How like a cliché it sounds: in love with your secretary.

I came across that picture of the three of us.

An amulet that sleeps in my night table. My fingers trace its mottled silver; in the frayed velvet oval our son blows out one candle. We look on, stupid with happiness.

I wipe a bit of tarnish with my apron, and slip our old life back inside its tomb.

Downstairs, the kettle whistles, keep on – keep on – keep on.

Born in Queens, New York, Roberta Beary lives in County Mayo, Ireland where they tweet their micros @shortpoemz. Their collaborative work with Ireland’s Clan Beo, One Breath: The Reluctant Engagement Project, recently was short listed for a Touchstone Book Award.