The Gift

August 1st, 2009

Do you see me? I have to ask because
a few years ago I discovered I have a knack,
a talent, an ability to become invisible.
One day I was standing at a notions counter
to purchase some nail polish, a rather bright color.
I was feeling confused, turning over in my mind
whether the shade was quite suitable.
Actually I was holding two bottles,

one a pale natural pink, one an iridescent fuscia.
The sales girl helped another customer
and then another and another.
A woman pushed past me
though I was there before the others.
I wasn’t quite sure which color I wanted.
The clerk spoke to a young girl behind me
without a single nod my way.

I stepped forward and said,
“I believe I am next in line.”
She responded, “I didn’t see you there.”
I said, “I’ve just decided to take the pink.”
A few weeks went by. One early evening
I went to a movie. I stood at the box office
trying to decide between Cinema Paradiso
and an Australian film, I’ve forgotten the name.

Several people walked past me to buy tickets.
I was amused at first
and then annoyed.
I stepped forward and said,
“I believe I’m next in line.”
The girl  responded,
“I didn’t see you there.”
I said, “In deed! One ticket for Cinema Paradiso.”

As time went by this  happened
more and more in grocery stores,
cafes and cocktail parties.
Now I know I have a knack, a talent,
an ability to become invisible.
The disturbing thing is that
I have no control over the time or place.
Sometimes this is annoying, sometimes amusing.

Sometimes I take advantage
of the situation. I overhear things
that can be helpful to my writing.
I pick up peoples’ patterns of speech,
confidences, conflicts that I could not conceive
without the knack, the talent, the ability
to become invisible. This gift is either a blessing
or a curse. I haven’t decided yet.

4/2001