Reardon.....with none of my own
None of my own
by Patrick T. Reardon

I packed books in boxes
and notes in boxes
and pens and rulers
and pads of paper
and photos in frames
and maps and small things
without any category
that reminded me of a
person I’d met or a
story I’d written or a
place I’d been on the

I said good-
bye, hugged and
was hugged,
saw tears in
other eyes but
shed none of my own,
and walked out the door,
laid off.

PHOTO: The author at the Chicago Tribune in 1987.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The challenge here was to compress into a few words a moment in my life that was filled with myriad strong emotions. My aim was to use short lines of discrete facts, piled one on top of the other, to give a sense of how everything that had gone before and everything that was to come had been telescoped into the action of packing and leaving. My hope is that the reader feels this compression and intensity before getting to the final two words that explain it all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, who has written five books and published essays and poetry widely, worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune until April 2009, when he was laid off.