By Patrick T. Reardon
When I sit and when I stand.
When clots of fog cover the restless river.
When tick tocks.
When I die and when I am.
(When inert bullet left and
channeled his brain and spilled
onto rain-snow concrete and grass,
gray tissue and blood
and his empty body.)
When Johnny comes
marching, when Irish
eyes, when the swallows
and when a man loves.
When ignorant armies.
When lake and river merge.
When sky and water merge.
When flesh scabs.
When hot flesh unites.
When flesh rots dry.
(When his strobe anger lightninged a
whirlwind upon me, his fellow prisoner
in chains reaching back to the crib.)
When the red, red robin and
when doves. When the ship and
when I was a boy.
When I swallowed my unsung song.
When Jesus wept.
When Judas kissed.
When Peter heard.
(When he stuttered, when he learned
poison lessons he couldn’t vomit, when
his leg was broken, but not his leg.)
When I, when we were, when the
saints, when the moon hits your
eye, when you wish, when you’re
smiling, when you went away, when
you went away.
Patrick T. Reardon
This poem originally appeared in Rat’s Ass Review on 4.11.20.