By Patrick T. Reardon


The showers have turned to drizzle.

Drops fall heavily now

from the black limbs of a bare tree

in the glare of the street light.

She is tired.

She is worse today.

Some talk

and some smoke

and some run for office.

She has laughed at the scandals of others.


She is worse today.

She is close to shore.

She has baked no bread in seven years.

She has not gone to Mass in two years.

She has not smoked in a year.

Her sewing has become knitting.

She no longer watches television.

She is tired.


The Commission members

discuss the image of women in advertisements.

They argue strategies.

They choose sides.

She used to pawn her wedding ring

and redeem it when the check came in.

She is worse today.


She has been petty in old age.

She has betrayed and aggravated.

She has found small pleasures

inflicting small wounds.

She is tired.


She has lived to see

the children of her children’s children

and has taken life from their young lives.

Her heart is failing.

She cannot hear well.

She walks on the arm of a grandson.


The rain has stopped

and the night is silent

but for the single car

moving quietly down the street.


She is a child now

afraid of growing up.

She is tired.


She is worse today.


Patrick T. Reardon


This poem, written in 1975, shortly before the death of my Grandmother Mary Thomas at the age of 85, was originally published in Westigan Review in 1976 and included in my book Requiem for David (2017).

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

Leave A Comment