No Existing Record

 
Where are you if we can't find proof of your 
existence as civil servant? Not even an index 
card in a filing cabinet, not one yellowing record 
with nearly unreadable letters stuck in a box, 
somewhere in the basement of the City Hall? 
The clerks say it's because it was the time before 
digitization, before computerized filing; when 
sheaves of paper were tied with twine or organized 
with rubber bands: A-E under a moldy pipe, F-J 
by the water heater. All the men who knew you 
or were your friends are dead now too—what 
is death if not the last repository, safety 
deposit box without a key, without a combination;
held inside some depthless vault we can't imagine? 

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