When X = Invisible

Brian Powers

How long
   did my
      inner analyst
         work unknown

and unbidden?
   How long
      to formulate
         one complete

and specific
      Walking along
         Williamson Street

toward home,
   I strolled
      by the bistro
         that daily displays

the French flag.
   I was thinking
      of nothing
         but dinner

and a shower.
   A conditional statement —
      if x, then y
         rose like a flag

into my awareness:
   You be invisible
      and we
         will tolerate you.

Imagine the demands
   exacted by this unspoken
      one-line pact.
         What then

is lost
   if that sentence
      is imposed
         on your childhood?

Brian Powers

Brian Powers

Brian Dean Powers is a retired civil servant, and a lifelong resident of Madison, Wisconsin. His poetry and prose have appeared in magazines and anthologies, mostly in his home state.