April 26, 2015
Invisible Men

Kinko’s is open 24 hours

and I love to go at night

when the air is thin

 

and most of this resort

is asleep. The roads

like silk. Police

 

camped out at all

the major intersections

dozing. Me in my

 

car with the windows rolled

up belting it out with

Aretha Franklin, a danger

 

to no one. At Kinko’s

I see a man sitting before a computer

as though at work—

 

a perfect imitation

of a working man, his notebooks

open, supersized soft drink cup

 

with straw inserted

next to him. Yet I realize finally

he is entirely

 

asleep. Later, on my

way to the bathroom, I see

another man—

 

a dark man with a white

wooly cap of hair—at another

terminal, in the same

 

pose. So still he could be

covered with snow.  A real go-getter.

Like Segal’s dead-white

 

figures facing forward

on the subway. The Kinko’s workers must

assiduously avoid asking

 

themselves why these two

men—others—haven’t moved for hours. Their

willingness to sleep this

 

way is too touching, too

enterprising. A Kung Fu

trick, a Batman trick, to make

 

oneself invisible. Fighting off

my own rigor, I jab the keyboard,

peppering my e-correspondents

 

with passionate exhortations.

Then I remove my long-suffering

credit card, make my way to

 

the car and the

slumbering beach house. I leave

my friends the statue-men

 

to soldier on,

propped at their work stations, in

poses of critical

 

deliberation. May they

awake restored, knowing they are the

linchpins of some alternate

 

night economy, under

the fluorescent lights of Hilltop Shopping Center’s

24-hour Kinko’s.

 

–Dana Roeser (Tippecanoe County)

This poem previously appeared in the author’s In the Truth Room, 2008.

 

Dana Roeser

Dana Roeser is the author of The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed, recipient of the 2013 Juniper Prize, as well as Beautiful Motion and In the Truth Room, both winners of the Morse Prize. She received an NEA fellowship in 2007. She has taught in the MFA Writing Programs at Purdue and Butler Universities and will be Visiting Distinguished Poet at Wichita State University in November 2015. She lives in West Lafayette (Tippecanoe County). Her website is www.danaroeser.com

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!

 

 

Posted In: Poetry

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