Patrick T. Reardon

Patrick T. Reardon is the author of fourteen books, including the poetry collections Requiem for David (Silver Birch), Darkness on the Face of the Deep (Kelsay), The Lost Tribes (Grey Book), Let the Baby Sleep (In Case of Emergency) and Salt of the Earth: Doubts and Faith (Kelsay). His memoir in prose poems Puddin’: The Autobiography of a Baby was published by Third World Press with an introduction by Haki Madhubuti. For 32 years, Reardon was a Chicago Tribune reporter. His history book, The Loop: The “L” Tracks That Shaped and Saved Chicago was published by Southern Illinois University Press.

“Black Tambourines,” “Brother Red Gold,” and “Flesh”

And I heard black tambourines, stolen
steel guitars, small-room tubas, forsaken
trumpets, green castanets, kettledrums
of gold, stained-glass window pianos
— the orchestra of the alley,
pavement joyously undefended. Read more.


“Baby,” “Bourbon Street, New Orleans, the night before the Chicago Bears won the 1986 Super Bowl, 46-10,” and “Ghosts”

My sister held the baby as he died.
Not hers.

She held the nose-tube baby
as his mother exercised at the Y,
exorcized, for moments, grief,
setting fragile, ebbing boy in soft arms. Read more.

Issue 64

“Heron,” “Liberty” and “Odyssey”

Great blue heron, white in high green,
folds on self, forward falls toward water,
clear space, wingspan wind-catch, rise in flight.

I am semi-trailer truck in someone else’s tender canoe
— steep banks through suburbs, six crows
from one bank to the other frenzy a hawk Read more.

Issue 46

“Pa,” “Land mark” and “Dark night”

Drive Chronicles Avenue straight out
of downtown for three miles to the
railroad bridge, empty as a Roman
ruin, turn right toward the spray-paint
chaos of the Grass Lake rocks, right
again onto Esther Road, to 135, and
there’s tight-wound Pa sitting on the
dusk porch while nervous fireflies,
trespassers, skitter, knowing nothing
else, around the maypole of his chair. Read more.

Issue 41

“I was a tourist from honey-milk land,” “Inheritance” and “Overflowing”

I was a tourist from honey-milk land,
and Sister heard my question underneath.
She had her own.
“Are you packing?”
That kind of place.
The nun hugged her wizened chest.
She was old then,
dead now, I’m sure, thirty years on. Read more.

Issue 34

“Angels are out tonight,” “Brick wall scripture” and “City hymn”

Tonight, the typewriter keys slam rhythm
to ease coarse electricity under the skin.
The Sister of the Sacred Heart pleads alms
and sweats under her habit
as angels stride thickly east and west on her sidewalk.
Angels fly complex patterns
over the drunk anesthesiologist and the beautiful child. Read more.

Issue 29