When the world sickened and grew cautious,
the coffee shop adapted. It is how they survived.
People still came, happily, though they drank
from to-go cups and could not smile at the baristas.
Then the medicine arrived, and the worry subsided.
Ease returned with procedure and proximity.
In the midst of all the changing-back, it turned out
that what people had missed the most, the gratitude
they now sigh into every order, is the ability
to hold a ceramic mug. They palm its sides
like a talisman and grasp the handle like a confidence.
They soften the moment they kiss its rim.