Night Layover in Greyhound Station, Christmas Return to Basic Training

Night Layover in Greyhound Station,
Christmas Return to Basic Training

With sure purpose a man comes in
through the street doors and I can smell
his bulky brown overcoat before he edges
the wall opposite the counter, moves
close enough for smelling it.  He fingers
the coin return slots of a payphone,
vending machines, the Double Bubble
gum machine while I admire his swiftness,
quick concentration, imagine he's been
rousted out before since he's half-fleeing

Slumped in my dress uniform trench coat,
buttoned against the December draft
of cold from the night-colored glass doors,
what everyone else ignores is the night's
most interesting thing to me, and I wonder
at the mystery of his visit, remember
a college sociology class -- "Because
they can't move they have no choice
but to adapt to circumstances," the poor,
a concept -- not real, burnt out lives that
do move, with forced dignity back past
the desk attendant, defying his glance,
and I just imagine fingers found a coin
in every one of the returns, defying
the power of losing.

 Steven Croft

An Army combat veteran, Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia on a property lush with vegetation. He has recent work in Willawaw Journal, Sky Island Journal, So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Third Wednesday, Red Eft Review, San Pedro River Review, Poets Reading the News, Gyroscope Review, and other places. 


  1. Another absolute gem. Well done, Steven.

  2. Honor and service all in a poem. Incredible.

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