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Poem: “Allelulia steeples”



Alleluia steeples

By Patrick T. Reardon


Give me two mule-loads of

mud flooded with the Lord God,

the water in which I washed,

plunged seven times,

gagged, splashed, amok,

spluttered, my flesh like

the flesh of a child,

uncleanness now whiter than snow;


The baby sleeps in the upper room.

The bread is broken in the upper room.

I climb the stairs to the upper room.


We store the box of photographs,

each a song, in the upper room.

Look, light from the upper room

stabs the dark.


two mule-loads of river silt,

caress of current, mountain to bay;


Workers dismantle the upper room table.

Upper room fracture,

upper room consternation, upper room belief.

The upper-room hymns.


of dry beach sand, insected, footed, garbaged;


Open the tabernacle

in the wall safe in the upper room.

Hear confessions in the upper room.


Elk clopping before the altar.


two mule-loads of dust from

the home he abandoned when

he stuttered his way out the back

door with the trigger.


I chew my brother’s ashes until I choke.

The baby breathes and alleluia steeples.



Patrick T. Reardon



This poem originally appeared in Meat For Tea, Volume 14, Issue 1, March 2020.

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