It’ll get you there

By Patrick T. Reardon

Follow 12 steps.

Chew sugarless gum.

Show up for counsel.

Lines to stay within

Enjoy breathing.

Enjoy Diet Coke.

Take medicine on time.

Answer when asked.

No need to understand.

Check off boxes.

Listen to instructions.

Avoid those thoughts.

Only get in the car to go somewhere.

Walk briskly past the gun store.

Do not search the internet for guidance.

Dead brother’s blood.

Before you encapsulated the scream,

you were wild with agony.

So were the others.

The others.

Doubly agonize them?

Doubly rend their skin, break their bones?

Doubly self-empty?

Do no harm.

It’ll form the frame to fit your portrait.

It’ll get you there.

It’ll swaddle.





Patrick T. Reardon


This poem was initially published in Meat for Tea, published 9.8.19.

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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