The Invisible Game

“Hey, are you invisible?”


That gets my attention. Here I am, humdrum paper-cup coffee and bland NYT magazine in hand, waiting for yoga class to start at the gym. A half hour to kill amid chrome and plastic, the café.

Across from me sit two teenagers, talking over their devices.

“Yeah I’m invisible!” responds the second kid.

I think of Emily Dickinson.

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you—Nobody—too?

Two fifteen-year-old boys, with their thatched fifteen-year-old boy hair, regulation jeans and sweatshirts, a shot of individuality in one’s neon red shoelaces.

“Do you like my piggies? I have piggies!”

Dickinson, who knew a little about being invisible:

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don’t tell! they’d advertise—you know!

Red Shoelaces: “I have a saw!”

Invisible Boy: “The worst is getting lightning over and over again.”

I know how that can be. Sip of boring coffee. Bite of workaday bran muffin.

The two focus intently on their phones. I can barely see them, they are so far off, paddling around in a crystalline universe populated by pigs, saws, lightning and who knows what else. “I’m just stating a fact,” says Red Shoelaces. “Just a fact, that’s all.” A fact in fantasy.

I didn’t go to yoga. I flew up into the air, away from coffee, newspaper, away from self, and disappeared.

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog – 

To tell one’s name – the livelong June – 

To an admiring Bog!

1 Comment

Filed under Jean Zimmerman, Poetry

One response to “The Invisible Game

  1. Lori

    I love Dickinson’s poetry! But if I HAD to choose it would be Edna St. Vincent Millay. Still, Dickinson had such a way of making the ordinary into something quite different.
    Thank you, Jean, for this most recent blog post! I had to read it to my avid-gamer son, and even he laughed!
    No, he couldn’t tell me what game they were playing. Apparently there are a lot of games with piggies, saws, lightning, and invisibility.
    Who knew?

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