By Patrick T. Reardon



Eternal, puzzle us,

puzzle us clockwork apart and put us

back together, create/re-create, Eternal,

cycle us and puzzle us to ourselves,

puzzle us revelations long withheld.


Puzzle the lost phone at McDonald’s, a

sort of life without electricity touch,

eye blink, incense and wet dung, coat

buckle clocking wood pew in cave-tall

church, taste of broken bread.


Puzzle grubs and snits, moist soil where

the bell tulip rots, yellow stem sticks,

maze of mourning, the dead and the

quick, the blueshadow seed grown brittle,

church of chaos decay, headquarters of

biological commerce, the last first and

so on, corpse of the lucifer rose, of the

waltzing lily, of the red-wing gnat, alpha,

omega, bang and whimper, lost souls,

survival of and so on, quiver and still,

ignored passion, crucifixion, rising,

scripture, itch, whisper below her

white-on-white hemline and her notice.


Puzzle us, Eternal, jigsaw lost tribes,

communion of saints.


Puzzle our father, the tapped rock that

spouted no water, the sea that never

parted, the frozen divine flame, the bush

brittle and thick with thorns.


Puzzle the patient: “I was put here for you

to help. Will you help me? Will you take

away my dreams? Do you dream? You are

filling up with dreams like a balloon. You

start to rise awkwardly. I hold my breath.

I wait for you to explode.”


Eternal, puzzle the

babel: “Arrow the

lust. Wrestle the

stone. Weigh dust.”


Puzzle the bony boy in the last

desk in the window row who, with nun not

noticing, pressed point of canary yellow

Crayola on silver rust radiator skin and

watched river of wax sinuate down cast

iron and red violet next and mountain

meadow green and navy blue, each an

Illinois, a Missouri, an Ohio, feeding a gray

Mississippi emptying to drear gulf of boredom.


Eternal, puzzle us, empty of epiphany,

lusting for a full belly of understanding.



Patrick T. Reardon




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



Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is

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