Morning Prayer

Baby powder before everything,
though that was never the order
of the morning. Fresh urine always
came first as my mother and I stumbled
out of bed into the living room.
My father, swaddled in white sheets,
fought against his restraints, twisting his
wrists in place. Then, there was the feel
of his skin, lacquered with sweat, burning with
delusions. I pulled him onto his tumorless
side so my mother could reach over
his body, untangle his frail bones,
snap apart and remove the soiled
diaper just as she had done for him
the night before. We mixed powder
and ointment, their separate smoothness
coming together for tender
bed sores, chaliced agony. A kiss
on his forehead, and we retreated
to the narrow bathroom walls, me sitting on
the tub’s edge, my mother
at the sink, folding her hands
one over the other, running
bubbles of soap between
her fingers like
beads from a rosary.

Eric Loya is from Long Beach, California, where he earned a B.A. in English Lit. He then received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Riverside where he studied with Juan Felipe Herrera, Christopher Buckley, and Chris Abani. Currently, Mr. Loya teach English at Long Beach City College, West Los Angeles College, and Cerritos College.

His work has appeared in White Pelican Review, Black and White, Mosaic, Pearl Magazine, Verdad Magazine, as well as 34th Parallel Magazine and Prairie Schooner. Mr. Loya’s full manuscript has been a quarter-finalist for the NOLO Literary Award and a semi-finalist for The Trio House Prize, The Philip Levine Prize, and the Crab Orchard First Book Prize.

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