KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Micro-Fiction: 350 words

Crazy White Dude

by Roberta Beary

The guy on the F train is smoking right under the “No Smoking Punishable by Law” sign. I steal a closer look. A crazy white dude like so many others who’ve wormed their way into my comfort zone. He bothers me the same way Uncle Frank did. The first time I was six. We didn’t have a spare room for Uncle Frank so he had to share with Timmy. All the best toys were in Timmy’s room. After Timmy’s heart died, Uncle Frank pretended to cry but I knew he was secretly happy. Now he’d have Timmy’s room all to himself. I don’t know what happened to the train set, the farmhouse, or the stuffed blue dinosaur. Uncle Frank probably sold them for coke. Or gave them to his girlfriend, the one with the little girl. Predators are everywhere. Right in this magazine it says certain men look for young single moms. With daughters. That’s who they want. The daughters. Not the moms.

Crazy doesn’t do a thing for me but some people look for crazy. Like Uncle Frank. She’s already broken in, Uncle Frank liked to say about his girlfriend. She’d drop off her daughter with Uncle Frank so we could play together. But we’d only be together when the girlfriend was there, dropping off or picking up. We’d play with my Barbie, the one with the knife scar scratched on her stomach, where no one could see. Uncle Frank did that. He never said but I knew.

Crazy white dude gets up; he’s on the move. Coming closer. I mouth my mantra. Face your fear. Face your fear. Face your fear. He’s so close I can smell him. The rot of dead cigarettes. What you looking at woman? Hey, I’m talking to you. I lift my hands and sign, I’m deaf; I can’t hear you. He moves away. Onto the next girl. There’s always a next girl. After I got my period, Uncle Frank would go for his stepdaughter, not me. Yeah, he and the girlfriend got married. And moved away. I still get a card, every Christmas.


Roberta Beary
Issue 7, Spring 2017

is the haibun editor for Modern Haiku. She identifies as gender-expansive, and writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. Her book The Unworn Necklace, named a William Carlos Williams finalist by the Poetry Society of America, is in its fourth printing. Her work is featured in A Companion to Poetic Genre (John Wiley & Sons, 2011) and Haiku In English: The First Hundred Years (W.W. Norton, 2013). Her book Deflection (Accents Publishing, 2015), a collection of prose poems on loss and grief, was named an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist and received a Touchstone Award Honorable Mention. Poet and playwright Grace Cavalieri says, “In Deflection she extends her reach with some of the most searingly truthful work I’ve seen this year.”

Beary tweets her photoku on Twitter @shortpoemz.

Author’s website:

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