by Mary C. McCarthy

That first move we waited
so long for
was over in a day
I came in from school
to find the house empty
all gone already to the new place
so wonderful for us
an old brick victorian
with gingerbread and pocket doors
tall windows and a deep front porch
and worn down parquet floors

that night my father sat with mama
on the second-hand couch
that was the first we ever had
and said to her “I’ve never had
a room with carpet on the floor”
another first for all of us
couch and carpet and a front door
that opened only when we wanted
to let in only those we knew
refusing all without an invitation

so different
from the rooms we had before
in back of Grandma’s bar
and upstairs on the second floor
where there was no ‘living room’
but a public space
where strangers met to drink
where chairs were not upholstered
and floors were all
linoleum or bare
and we spent Sunday mornings
washing booths and tables
and Sunday evenings sitting at the bar
in the dark
watching anything we wanted
on the big TV

so different
this new house with all
its comforts and its privacy
where soon we will find room
enough for all our loud
and eager dreams

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The picture is me in 1967 at age 17, sitting at the bar with my baby brother on what is obviously a Sunday night. The bar was in the Garfield neighborhood in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a poem about the first move I ever made, at age 17. My family moved from one neighborhood to another, not much of a distance at all in space, but a huge one in experience. We had always lived with my grandmother, who had a bar, and we lived in the two back rooms and the bedrooms in a separate apartment upstairs. There was always a public element to our lives there, and not much privacy — not only were strangers always likely to be around, we were a large family (mama, dad, grandma, and the seven of us children) in a limited space. After grandma’s death, the bar was sold and we moved.


Mary C. McCarthy
has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work included in many on-line and print journals, including Gnarled Oak, Third Wednesday, The Evening Street Review, Expound, and Earth’s Daughters. She spends her time on writing and drawing, and has high hopes for a better world, despite the daily news, filled with reports of war and other calamities.

AUTHOR PHOTO: The author at  Ormond Beach, Florida (September 2015).