Volume 30, Number 4


It is unclear when everyone went invisible.
A new moment, and you could see no one,
Not even yourself. The body, the clothes,
The personal effects. After the first seconds
Of standing shocked still, the next reaction
Was to move in plausible straight lines,

Fix on a goal and advance. Quickly
People were knocked flat by no one
In particular, mumbled apologies
Or curses in the air like fractured light.
How many of us took to thrusting
Both hands armlock in front of us, pressing
Flat against the air for obstruction,

No one can know. For me
It was quarter steps, jostling, the slow
Heel to toe to shelter.  Others I am sure
Ran and fell, ran and fell, plowed
Uncounted others flat, created
Bruises and sprains and unseen
Blots of blood on the sidewalk.

No one knows. Since the event
Each of us has had to act
Like we want to act, suffer
Our own invisibility, be
The characters our parents created.
Our mirrors are empty, our public

Faces unseen, unused. I can be
Who I want to be, the invisible me,
The only one I look out for,
Citizen of the transparent, a moral ghost.
I listen for breathing, running in my mind
The chromatics of a new ethics, a new
Unclouded accountability. I am now
The citizen I always wanted to be.

—Ken Poyner