Poetry by Thelma T. Reyna: “Early Morning”

In this season of Lent, we are told to “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This reminder of mortality is not meant to make us dwell in gloom, but to practice discerning how to spend our time on what matters most.

Thelma T. Reyna’s poem below illustrates this truth. It is reprinted by permission from her forthcoming chapbook, Hearts in Common, available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press through April 5. From the publisher’s press release: “Hearts in Common focuses on the commonalities that bind us all together. Poems about the dreams, labors, and heartbreaks of immigrants from Mexico, Vietnam, and other parts of the world; about nurses in Haiti treating the dying; about Egyptians in rebellion against their oppressors, join with insightful, poignant poems about the people in our everyday lives: husbands, wives, lovers, parents, children, friends–all of us having ‘hearts in common’.”

Early Morning
by Thelma T. Reyna

She wasn’t supposed to die across the
sunbeams, flowered night-
gown twisted around crumpled knees, eyes
widely unaware and questioning.

She wasn’t supposed to die while
her coffeepot called, and toast rose
with a gentle click as she
cajoled and roused sleeping children.

She wasn’t supposed to die while
she sang to the terrier licking her ankles,
and her husband ambled to her for their
morning kiss, white coffee mug ready
   
for his brew.

She wasn’t supposed to die like this,
arms around his neck, lips pressed to his ear,
warm breath gearing up for morning talk,
her head tilting back to tell him something
   
monumental.

But she died a lightning death, her
big heart failing, her body falling in an
instant to
the sunlit floor, her mouth circled in pain,
   
her hands
clutching her breast as her children
   walked in.

No guarantees. There are no guarantees in life,
   we’ve
been told and retold. Grab love, fight loss, find
joy, hang on, believe, and tell yourself again
  and again
and again that this day, each day, is irretrievable.

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