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Is this the zombie apocalypse everyone talks about?

by Donna Isaac


People walking past each other, snake eyes looking neither right

nor left, ear buds occluding ears, mesmerized

by phones glued to hands, flesh and blood people

right there, right next to them, say, on a bus bench

or at a concert. Twice today I had to say "excuse me"

to two different women in Hy-Vee, one yacking on the phone

while perusing dried mac and cheese, one texting

furiously before Asian condiments. Each time,

they sluggishly stepped aside, eyes never meeting mine,

no "Oh, sorry" or "Hi, didn't see you there" or "My daughter

is so fussy about brand names! Have a good day!" Shopping over,

I got in the slowest line, glanced at by a harried cashier

who, at the end of the transaction, mindlessly dangled

a receipt, picked up her cell and began chatting.

Two days later in the airport, I was the only one at the gate

not staring at a phone or laptop while we steeled ourselves

to board the late plane. People were nice enough as they shuffled

along with overstuffed carry-ons, jamming them into the overhead

bins, bumping legs on the way to window seats, jostling

the already-seated playing Candy Crush or Ollie Cats on I-pads.

After turbulence and tiredness overwhelmed us all,

we slept, awaking in a different state, staring into the backs

of the seats ahead, fumbling for cell phones warming our gonads,

telling our loved ones, "We are here." For a moment,

we are human again, bursting out of exits, rushing to hug,

to kiss, loading up the car, riding out into the darkness