By Patrick T. Reardon

In summer, the father grilled hot dogs

with his white t-shirt off, skin burning.

In fall, he tolled novenas.

After snow melt,

the whitened bones of a gnawed bird,

chaos of feathers.

Can you taste the beckoning?

In winter, the father did duties,

and in spring and year-round,

a man for every season

— for the moment in the door,

bending the mother back

for a movie kiss in a clinch

bending in on itself,

a branch twisting into soil.

Make children.

Make space.

Make believe.

The ripple on the face of the water,

song of songs.

The scratch, the itch,

amid the cyclone.

The father moved through the children

like a spacecraft through the vacuum.

In the end, he wanted out.


Patrick T. Reardon


This poem was originally published among four poems by Patrick T. Reardon in the Adelaide Literary Journal in September, 2019.

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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