staring silent at Indiana snow,
robed up in a worn, old, pink throw
lights her cigarette by the kitchen window.
She squints and she licks her thin, blotted lips,
and she nods when she comes to remember
that the five grown-up children she brought from her hips
are all coming over for dinner.
No one else is awake.
Ed is sleeping.
The pale sunrise is Rita's alone.
She starts the coffee,
sets the paper on the table,
eats a Starburst candy, and she
lets her mind go with her smoke,
drift out the window screen,
past the narrow, peeking grey sky.
She plants herself in silence until morning grows too long.
awakens Ed, hair messy and
white t-shirt, heavy
step into their Folgers and news-
print sweet kitchen, his gaze does not
sink, Rita stands by their sink in that fluffy pink
blanketed in love,
Why, hello, Rita, Rita, Rita.
And she's there at the countertop,
where her arm and her cigarette rest, and,
Good morning. How did you sleep?
And Ed smiles, that's all--
Ah, Ri-ta. Ri-ta, Ri-ta June...
It is past ten now, and--
As they take their morning medicines,
Ed holds her close, tender
as he whispers the words in their own quiet language
that won Rita's hard head when she was young,
and keeps her heart warm,