Reading Dostoevsky by Mary McCarthy

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

at sixteen I found the intense
impassioned wildness
only the complicated names
were strange
The sudden crises
of faith and civility
the fevered dreams
of hope and desperation
the exaggerated gestures
tasted like home to me

no more unusual
than the sudden rages
breaking out in curses
in furniture overturned
and hard fists on small bodies
tossed against walls
and made to kneel for hours
in the dark

all so ordinary
I don’t remember fear
just anger and contempt

comparing bruises
refusing to cry

Photo pf Mary McCarthy

Photo pf Mary McCarthy

A native of Pittsburgh, Mary McCarthy studied art and literature at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work published in anthologies and literary journals, including Earth's Daughters, Third Wednesday, Caketrain and the online journals Gnarled Oak and The Camel Saloon. Speaking to issues of social injustice has always been important to her work as a poet.