Tuesday 11 August 2020

No One to Know

by Jen Schneider

Invisibility, I know you. By name. You are:

… a seat at the center of a rectangular table for twelve as animated voices float over and around your seat.
… a solitary soul alone in a crowded room full of pairs and groups of three.
… the utterance a sound Hello – that is never heard.
… clothes a mix of red, burgundy, and orange hues that blend just right – complement your complexion – but which remain hidden under a jacket – a size too small – that was never removed.
… to sit on a crowded train – delayed with no AC – holding an antique typewriter – with keys that neither click nor clack – that demands ribbon no longer manufactured.
…a disconnected landline listed in directories near and far. All seven digits and a spelling error – a before e – in your very common first name.
… struggles to swallow a softly steamed broccoli stem. Bitter. A vegetable you’ve always disliked.
… cough, breathe a sigh of relief when the passage clears, and realize no one noticed.
… offers of an eight-letter Scrabble word – not telling, sorry – that no one recognizes or approves.
… memorized jokes – Knock, Knock, Who’s There – that are never told.
… pauses to view yourself in the mirror but not recognize who you see.
… to want nothing more than to be anywhere else but here. But to have nowhere else to go.
… to have so much to say but nothing anyone wants to hear.
… to see people everywhere but know no one.

And have No One to Know.

* * * * *

Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Recent work appears in The Popular Culture Studies Journal, Toho Journal, The New Verse News, Zingara Poetry Review, Streetlight Magazine, Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals. 


  1. While and nodding and grinning affirmatively, I nearly choked on the broccoli stem...and the loneliness.

  2. I relate, somewhat. Much food for thought! Thank you!