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. 

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  1. Another absolute gem. Well done, Steven.

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