Night in the Train Station by Matt Dunn at

Night In The Train Station

Night in the Train Station

written by: Matt Dunn



After scanning the floor, a lucky break:
There’s a bench with an open seat I can take.
Forty-two minutes, my train will arrive,
I sip my coffee: stay awake, stay alive.

Two nearby hobos fight loudly and curse,
“But,” I think to myself, “It could always be worse.”
And when I get up, I confirm what I think:
In the men’s room a man cleans his socks in the sink

I glance at the clock, must be soon, I believe,
But thirty more minutes until my reprieve.
The piped in music’s rhythm competes
As a crackhead’s rhythmic mantra repeats.

“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t,” he intones
While most of us hide our heads in our phones.
I get up once more; find a new bench again,
With eighteen more minutes till I see my train.

A brief pause in this concert: a policeman walks by.
And for a moment I let out a sigh.
My new benchmate smells of many foul things,
And a few feet behind me a raspy voice sings.

Nine minutes remain in this unwanted storm
So I start to meander towards the platform
When suddenly I hear the loudspeaker say
“Just hold on there, fella, there’s been a delay.”

The passengers turn at this new renege
Avoiding eye contact like it was the plague.
I close my eyes tightly; fall back in my seat,
A Sisyphean encore, the show will repeat.


If this seems to have a similar rhythmic feel to Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” that is intentional. This poem was inspired by an actual evening in a city train station during the Christmas Season. The waiting area was decorated with seasonal displays, which, at rush hour, may have cheered people up as they passed. But when I was there at almost midnight, the station was no different than it would have been any other evening.

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