Ellyn Joyce



In the coffee shop
on the upper Westside 
The light grey and bleak 
as it’s been for weeks 
during this monsoon winter 
Icicles and sloppy snow 
gritty and sharp
Watching the passerby who 
gingerly step over ice floes 
soggy sidewalks
Heads down in wooly wraps 
masks on
expressions hidden.

This is now the season
of wars of invasion and horror 
I blanch from daily death tolls 
and tragic losses
weep for the children and the dead 
The refugees piling across the borders 
bereft broken and numb
I heard the female journalists 
speak from their invaded country 
They talk of their village square 
Their cafes gone, their guideposts
shattered, shards and bombed ruins 
where their ancient town once stood.

But yet  gratitude flows in me now 
floods cascades a caramel glow 
To sit	 intact and unmolested 
warm   sipping brewed coffee
at Cafe 82
Hunger satisfied with
a fresh turkey pita and home fries. 
To be able to enter this familiar place 
with heat and electricity
not a crater where it once stood To be able 
to write these words and still do my work
without fear
of jackboots	and doors kicked in 
To know loved ones are still safe 
still alive
in these perilous days.
To be able to reflect 
on this day now
and the days that have gone before 
To think of my husband
whose strong and welcoming back 
has now become shaped to my front 
so integrally
when we spoon 
that we are like
one continual organism
who loves me like maple syrup 
loves pancakes
with fierce and total loyalty 
who I can cry with, laugh with 
and yell at safely
and my wild and smart and passionate friends 
who don’t always love wisely but feel and
act so deeply
working	  to repair the world.

Gratitude    small small small 
nothing major	no mansion 
no yacht	no Nobel Prize 
in this world of chaos and strife 
and still be able to say I am.