Dorthy LaVern Spencer McCarthy

Dorthy LaVern Spencer McCarthy has published five books of short stories and five books of poetry. Her short stories have appeared in Meadowlark Reader, Anthology Of Short Stories edited by Jilly Snowden, From The Shadows, edited by Amanda Steele, Writer’s Cache and other publications. Her poetry has been published in many publications such as Encore, Home Life, Cappers and Poetry Society Of Texas book Of the Year. She has won over five hundred state awards for her poetry and thirty four national awards. She is a life member of Poetry Society Of Texas and is a member of several other writing organizations. She resides in Blair Oklahoma.

Ghetto Music

        That Father's violin might not be lost
	when war began, with evil on the way,
	he kept it with him through the Holocaust.
	He played it in the ghetto every day.
	It calmed the dreaded thoughts of pain and doom,
	such music as would make the angels smile.
	The people listened raptly in the gloom.
	They sang along, rejoicing for a while.

	My father left his violin for me.
	I cannot play it well, but this I know.
	My son has all the talent that can be 
	inherited. Each time he plies the bow,

	exquisite harmony in every score,
	the souls of those who perished sing once more.

Wolves At The Door

                Years-of-poverty-ago, a wolf
		devoured our last chicken. 
			Crouched  in a swath of blood
		and feathers, fangs bared, it defied us.
		Galvanized, we bolted from the woods.
			screeched "Murder!" all the way home.

		Mama stood at the cabin door
		wiping her hands on a flour sack apron,
		sharing our terror. The chicken had
			been planned for dinner.

		I remember former chickens whose necks
			Mama had wrung, her upper lip turned 
		downward like a beak, something reeling
		in her eyes as a scrawny meal raced
			its life away, out in the yard.

		Before, I had managed to separate
		the violence from my plate of drumsticks
			and gravy, but not that night of no meat.
		Shoving in collards that had not been forced
			to suffer on my behalf, I watched Mama 
		brush a tear away as she tried to instill in us
			courage to face the wolves of our days.


                        The ladies at the Nursing Home Dance
			watch the old men watching them.
			The band plays In The Mood,
			but no one is except Mr. John
			in his bright yellow suit.

			He bops and boogies, jitterbugs
			over to Miss Millie.
			He releases her hand when
			she screams “Arthritis!”

			Music jangles against the ceiling,
			rains on silver heads like confetti
			at a welcome-home parade
			prompting Mr. John
			to pull Mrs. Smitty
			into a Fred Astaire whirl.
			They dance away fifty years.
			Roses bloome on her cheeks
			and life, on his.
			At song’s end, Mr. John
			bends his partner backwards
			in a swooping, ballroom kiss.

			Dour Mr. Smitty knocks over
			a chair, shuffles toward Mr. John
			to punch him in the mouth
			while Mrs. Smitty giggles
			fanning herself like a high school girl
			on her first important date.

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