A Canticle for Childhood
by Patrick T. Reardon

He looks out from the cave of his skull.

His lip is swollen from a top bunk fall.

His hair is cut by his father.

His First Communion shirt,
his First Communion tie
draw attention.

He is in the cavern of the church,
in the rows of children, alone.

He soars up,
up the gold spire atop the altar,
up the stained glass windows,
blue with sparks of red, green, white, gold,
up the mighty organ chords,
up the Host to heaven.

The brown wood of the pews
is new-turned soil.

He is suspended.

He waits.


PHOTO ABOVE: The author and his fellow First Communicants at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Chicago, Illinois (1956). PHOTO AT RIGHT: Close up of the author at age seven in the above photo.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is an author, essayist, and poet who worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune for 32 years.