If we were snowed in at an antlers-on-the-wall bar somewhere. If the colored lights were low, dancing and swooping at our feet. And something like “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” was playing, the sound swimming all around us like swirly cartoon smoke. Would you stand up and sway with me? Tell me I’m the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen? Hold my hand real close, tucked in between us like a little animal we wanted to keep warm?
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 but 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