Dearest Papa: A Memoir in Poems
by Thelma T. Reyna
65 poems ~ 116 pages
Price: $15.00
Publisher: Golden Foothills Press
ISBN: 978-0-578-64373-1
To Order:


In the foreword to Dearest Papa, her memoir honoring her late husband, Thelma T. Reyna
avers, “Our lives, all lives unspool with time, unexpected paths take unexpected turns and
the unexpected awaits at each curve in our journeys.” No one, least of all Thelma and Victor,
expected anything other than a successful minor surgery that day; followed by dinner already
planned at their favorite restaurant. Something unexpected raised its ugly head. Buy this book.
But if you do, ensure that a fresh box of Kleenex rests within easy reach.


A book of love and grief showing how memory is the sharp needle that sews the fabric
of our lives together again. As Thelma Reyna writes so beautifully. “This is how we sink,
to rise, how brokenness is patched together again.
—Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D., author of Tongues in Trees

Thelma T. Reyna has pinned down “lovely” with these beautifully crafted memoir poems.
They are intimate, personal poems, and when you finish, you’ll want to hiss someone you
—Mary Langer Thompson, Ph.D., Senior Poet Laureate of California, 2012

Dearest Papa is a solid, humble testament of how each millisecond of life expands into a
bigger story that represents all of us … a deep, detailed poetic account of love and coupling,
as delicate as tender gets … as haunting and beautifully bold as naked could ever be.
—Beverly M. Collins, author of Mud in Magic, Naaman Literary Prize

Everyone knows or shall know grief. Dearest Papa recounts Reyna’s passage through her
husband’s illness, death, absence. She expresses her sorrow through prose poems and verse
that create a stunning narrative of minor events unfolding into catastrophe. Readers share
the poet’s grief, regret, celebration … [and] overwhelming gratitude for life.
—Michael V. Sedano, Co-founder/Writer/Editor, La Bloga


Thelma T. Reyna’s books have collectively won 14 national literary awards. She has written
5 books: a short story collection, The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories; 2 poetry
Chapbooks—Breath & Bone and Hearts in Common; and 2 full-length poetry collections—
Rising, Falling, All of Us, and Reading Tea Leaves After Trump, which won 6 national book
honors in 2018. As Poet Laureate in Altadena, 2014-2016, she edited the Altadena Poetry
Review Anthology
in 2015 and 2016.

Thelma’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, textbooks,
blogs, and regional media for over 25 years. She was a Pushcart Prize Nominee in Poetry in 2017.
She received her Ph.D. from UCLA.


Best Day of the Year

by Thelma T. Reyna
Write it in your heart that every day is the best day of the year.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

yes emerson yes except that one when his heart crashed   and i
couldn’t make it throb again though I was down the hall waiting as
his eyes went blank

and though i used to save him from the precipice time and again
bedside wife-hawk when whitecoats erred or nurses flitted from his
room too soon

and though my fingers drew a blessing on his forehead kissed his
nose tweaked his chin and he said I’ll see you in an hour

and though they wheeled him like a mummy down the hall we knew
so well smiling and unafraid of tiny nicks they’d slit into his arm

and though you’re always right emerson your brain transcending us i
must disagree emerson for that one day that day that one day I
couldn’t save him

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