By Patrick T. Reardon


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,

mud raccoon handprints,

duckweed green scum.


I will never return to this river.


Forty days and nights on

rising waters, they alone

kept the breath of life in

their nostrils across the face

of the seas. The raven, gone,

and then the low pigeon,

back, with green hope.


These words written

on back of page proving evolution, 

going back to start, original sin 

— as if the heron were showing off, 

as if God seeded evil, 

as if Jesus was a mutation, 

as if pain meant,

as if anyone could make me understand anything.

Here, twenty years after heron’s fall, 

bird, instruct me, odd, tall, thin, long creature.


Explain cell division, tock-tick and falling to fly,

neither evil nor good. 


Patrick T. Reardon


This poem originally appeared at The Write Launch on 2.1.21.

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 https://patricktreardon.com/.

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