I wrote "All There" about the Invisible Man, who was one of the original super heroes, cursed and blessed by his powers. In Wells' book, the Invisible Man is driven mad by his invisibility and his desire to be visible again, but I wondered if the reverse couldn't be true, too. If the Invisible Man suddenly became visible, maybe he would turn paranoid and vain.
The invisible man becomes visible
while picking up a paper
he has never paid for before
and the man at the newsstand
grabs the alien bird of his hand
and asks who he thinks he is.
Suddenly he pollutes reflections
with the focal of his face, a face
shaved by feel and old about the eyes.
It is as if he wandered into a museum
only to find his figure slouched
in the forefront of every work.
This new world with him all in it
forces him to pay for trains, forbids
from sneaking into shows, and those
lonely women seeming to eat alone
no longer let him mime a romance,
or pick discreetly at their plates.
The constant Marco-Polo of looks
and glances has turned his slalom
through crowds into the creeping
of a maze. The old visibility, once
miles long and wide as ocean sky,
his ability to see faces distinctly,
to perceive the personality of mobs,
all now impossible. He is unbelievably
small; man sized, almost, and the world
is as enormous as a city block.
He will walk through the rest of his life
as if a crowd of strangers follows behind.
First Published in the Cimarron Review