There has to be another way
Coffee talk


You, standing in line
at the coffee shop

or shivering at the gas pump --
what phone call do you dread

in the back of your mind
from the moment you wake up?

I don't know what grief lurks
in your dark corners

or what kind word
would settle around you

like a knitted afghan
warming your cold places,

would salve
your abraded heart.



I've been thinking a lot lately about the invisible worries and sorrows we carry with us, whether intimate or geopolitical. This poem came out of those reflections.

Usually titles are hard for me, but once the last couplet came together I knew what the poem's title would be. I like the way it hints both at balm and (via Latin) at salvation.