The fate of Billy the Kid

By Patrick T. Reardon

Limerick sour hen, consort of

thick-palm, bellied Patrick, cock

of blind alley, Catherine grudged

open to twitch the moment in soiled

New York night. In two hundred seventy

five solars, her derogate body birthed

child of spleen from vipered womb,

verted goddess of machinations,

raw hollowness, treachery and

all ruinous disorders.


serpent’s tooth,

shade of hanging tree.

Blame the sun, the moon, and the stars.

The firmament twinkled and

Mickey-Moused the Kid’s slack face

on a thousand thousand t-shirts.

Patrick T. Reardon



NOTE:  Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s uncompleted Arcades Project, this poem quotes words and phrases from Shakespeare’s King Lear, rearranged into a new setting and with new companion words.

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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