Franz Wright, "Night Walk"

My friend Carolynne sent me this poem. It made her remember how important friendship is, and I can feel that, too, but where it really sent me was to my days as a waitress, before I found love, before I married and had children. Funny how a poem can feel like a transport to another place and time I have almost forgotten -- waiting on a family dashing in for hamburgers between games in their son's Little League playoffs on a Saturday afternoon -- driving home one evening through a quiet neighborhood and seeing the lights in other people's kitchens and dining rooms.

Night Walk
The all-night convenience store's empty
and no one is behind the counter.
You open and shut the glass door a few times
causing a bell to go off,
but no one appears. You only came
to buy a pack of cigarettes, maybe
a copy of yesterday's newspaper --
finally you take one and leave
thirty-five cents in its place.
It is freezing, but it is a good thing
to step outside again:
you can feel less alone in the night,
with lights on here and there
between the dark buildings and trees.
Your own among them, somewhere.
There must be thousands of people
in this city who are dying
to welcome you into their small bolted rooms,
to sit you down and tell you
what has happened to their lives.
And the night smells like snow.
Walking home for a moment
you almost believe you could start again.
And an intense love rushes to your heart,
and hope. It's unendurable, unendurable.

— Franz Wright