top of page

December 3, 2022

Left Behind

Scotch plaid suitcases, first-used, fresh

as a young man’s clothes, left behind on

the platform, depart Buffalo, thrown on,

two cars behind, the train underway to

enter a haze-filter, sepia-toned twilight.


Months later, out of Istanbul, stuffed with

carpet, copper and hookah, then edited off

a manifest, left behind in plain sight on

the Athens tarmac as the aircraft taxied,

missing the next plane for good measure.


Left behind a third time in Rotterdam, as

ship sailed early to beat September storms

in the North Atlantic. Clothing abandoned

after three days, white togas sailed the sea

with waves over the bow and down the deck.


A race west: MS Seven Seas, sixteen knots,

smallest in scheduled service, twenty years

earlier an aircraft carrier, vs. SS Rotterdam,

twenty-two knots, launched by the queen,

the fleet’s Grande Dame, carrier of lost luggage.


Out of the winner, the Scotch plaids emerged,

ripped, taped, beyond use, carried through

Grand Central Station, hoisted overhead to

Buffalo, walked past the Bison statue, down

a parking ramp, where they are left behind.

© the author

by Eugene Stevenson

Eugene Stevenson, son of immigrants, father of expatriates, lives in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Eisenhower Fellow, Pushcart nominee, & author of The Population of Dreams (Finishing Line Press 2022), his poems have appeared in Delta Poetry Review, The Hudson Review, Red Ogre Review, San Pedro River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, & Washington Square Review among others.

bottom of page