My Mother’s Legacy - LaVern Spencer McCarthy

Those who thought they knew her
swore my mother would never survive
as a widow with six children crammed
into a shack on a few acres of stony ground.

She proved them wrong by coaxing tendrils
of wispy garden plants from reluctant soil
to sustain us. When that did not suffice,
she toiled in neighbors’ fields until
cuts on her fingers bled red on the vines.

It was rumored that we would never amount
to much but seven-in-a-pew on Sundays
said otherwise. At home, she spoke of faith
and God’s word. She called us her angels
 with dusty wings.

Certainly she would lose her looks, becoming
as dry and listless as a prairie shadow, but
although the sun leached part of the blue
from her eyes and time betrayed her face,
her smile would always reveal an inner beauty.

She instilled in us the value
of honest toil, the integrity of promises kept,
and the virtue of unconditional love.
I thank her for giving me courage.
I praise her for making me strong.

LaVern Spencer McCarthy is a transplanted Texan living in the country outside Blair, Oklahoma. Besides being a published author, she is interested in gardening, art and taking care of several cats that live with her. She is an avid football fan, favoring the Kansas City Chiefs. Her day is made whenever they win a game. She loves to write short stories and submit them to magazines and other publications. She has written and published twelve books of poetry and fiction.

Her work has appeared in Writers and Readers Magazine; Meadowlark Reader; Agape Review; Bards Against Hunger; Down in The Dirt; The Evening Universe; Fresh Words Magazine; Wicked Shadows Press; Midnight Magazine; Pulp Cult Press, Metasteller and others. She is a life member of Poetry Society of Texas. A poem she wrote has been nominated for the 2023 Push Cart Prize.