What Men Talk About When They Talk About Chemo (haibun) by Roberta Beary

treatment room
the sun shower
on his face

Another 15 minutes. Let’s see if I can do this. Anything that comes to mind, right? First there was Gerry, then Billy, after Billy came Nigel, then Billy#2, even though Billy#1 was still around, followed by Andrew whose sister Susan liked me, which was weird, I think that’s when I met Richard, my only priest, but before he was ordained, so no big deal, then came Bernard, and his best friend Davey who was really cute and wound up marrying my friend Karen, now Kevin, except they’re divorced and hate each other, I think Billy#3 was next, no he wasn’t, it was John, who never officially counted because he was married with kids only I didn’t know. I can’t remember when Billy#3 was. So this brain fog thing must be real. Anyway, now there’s nobody. Which is why I’m glad you brought the warm blanket and ice chips. Even though you don’t say much. For a nurse. I hope you got it all on my phone. My battery’s running down. No, not that one. Cheeky aren’t you?

chemo chair
the day lily’s
open eyes

Roberta Beary’s micro-memoir “Now, It’s Fresh Fish” was published in the New York Times Tiny Love Stories. Her work also appears in Rattle, KYSO Flash, 100 Word Story, Cultural Weekly, and Best Microfiction 2019.