It’s Late
by Mary McCarthy

And I am still waiting

           for my scars to heal

Waiting to find the days

           the lightnings burned away

Waiting for the words I couldn’t say

           loud enough to reach you

Waiting to get past the ache

           of your absence

           raw as the socket

           of a pulled tooth

Waiting to outlive my reputation

Waiting for the chance

           of one more resurrection

           one more spin

           across this tilting floor

Waiting like the dancing god

           with one foot raised

           between memory and anticipation

Ready to grow

           bright as the sun

           at the horizon’s lip

Ready for that

           last flash of joy

           That will leave behind

           no more than a shimmer

           of fractured light

PAINTING: Girl with Lantern by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky (1908).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The topic of what we are waiting for seemed particularly compelling for me in terms of our situation with the pandemic, where we are waiting for it to end, for the possibility of some return to “normal,” and for my own situation, having had Covid and also just passed my 71st birthday. All of this left me with a sense of the pressure of time, that it is never guaranteed, not in years or days, or in terms of waiting for anyone to finish their plans, their work, their healing, or their struggle. In fact, we will all be surprised by our end, whenever it comes, and however, it won’t wait until we’re ready, so the challenge is to be ready now.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy is a retired RN glad to find time for indulging her life long love of words and art. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, most lately in the anthology The Ekphrastic World edited by Lorette Luzajic, and the anthology The Plague Papers, edited by Robbi Nester, as well as in the latest issues of Earth’s Daughters and Verse-Virtual.