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Towers loom

by Patrick T. Reardon

Loop towers loom behind their

gleam, and I can take you to the

parking lot just off Dearborn

Street where the Mayor and

reporters went down into

unflooded freight tunnels

(although that lot is likely gone

now, 26 years later).


Alex and I drove south to north

from city border to city border

through alleys of Chicago, world 

alley capital. I saw a garage sale

chair and came back later to buy.


If you walk under the Loop and

follow the tracks west down Lake

Street — the soldierly tromp of

steel frames to oblivion — you

follow my brother’s walk as a

twelve-year-old through a Sunday

summer afternoon (through black 

hot neighborhoods where young

men and old, grandmothers and

skip-ropers saw him as a gray

-dungareed shaman, magic blond

boy), up back stairs, to the

Leamington second floor, 52

years before self-murder.


Younger, he and I crawled

around the new-poured 

foundation of a Washington 

Boulevard building, so muddy

and our bikes, we had to walk 

them home to the double-

spanking for the double of us

by Dad, on the porch, then

after the bath in bed.


Up Western from 79th Street, I

drove to Chicago (800 north)

and turned left, out to the

reporter job in Austin.  A

right turn, and, in a mile,

Ashland, where, thirty 

years later, I walked with

Sandra the grit Chicago that

abraded her out to the 

southwest and Mexico and

back southwest again, talking 

of the dust on medical 

implements in the drug store

window, dowdy Rexall, and,

a decade later, my son and

his wife live there in a duplex 

with two fireplaces and never 

saw the Rexall, gone now. 

They can walk to work in

the Loop in looming towers.

Patrick T. Reardon is the author of eight books, including “Requiem for David,” a poetry collection from Silver Birch Press, and “Faith Stripped to Its Essence,” a literary-religious analysis of Shusaku Endo's novel Silence. Reardon, a former reporter with the Chicago Tribune, has had poetry published by Silver Birch Press, Cold Noon, Eclectica, Esthetic Apostle, Ground Fresh Thursday, Literary Orphans, Rhino, Spank the Carp, Time for Singing, Tipton Poetry Journal, Under a Warm Green Linden and The Write City. His poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016 and 2017. His novella Babe was short-listed by Stewart O’Nan for the annual Faulkner-Wisdom Contest of the Faulkner Society. His Pump Don't Work blog can be found at

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June 2019

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