My folks had private morning rituals 

 

 

Squatting onto the toilet, she relaxed

reached into the seersucker robe's pocket for her pack

her hard thin lips closed around a Pall Mall cigarette,

paper match from, where? Oh yeah, Luigi's last week for dinner.

The cup sloshes hot creamy coffee on her bare leg

as she moves to her first deep inhale of the day,

smoke curls from her lips in no hurry, this is her time.

The Sun-Times, right size to fit across her knees, unfolds

headlines, comics, politics, her day's take on the Chicago world.

Inhaling, enjoying the rush to her lungs like a first love

she exhales through her nose and grunts disapproval

of what they're doing to her city, her lake front memoir,

not like when she lived there. Having come for the ‘dream’

from a small farm town with grass between its toes.

It had become her city, and when he showed up she recognized

her ticket to stay, and he was just her type to boot. A knock,

Dorothy, I'm going to tie some flies

before we head to the store.

 

Uh hmm. I’ll be down.

 

And that was the last time in their forty-five years they spoke

before he shot a hole through his brain and into their lives.