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Archive of the Regime

They've found more paper
documenting screams
yellow with authority,
officially stamped with coffee stains.

They’ve found more paper, but not the bodies,
the heritage of committee wisdom
meticulously checked boxes, each blank filled in
edited, reviewed, perfected, approved.

And how shall we file this one?
Torture, by method,
politics, by right suppressed,
endurance, by blows.

Heavy typewriter keys
bludgeon the paper
spatter black blood on clerks
staining their tea cups.

The silent army of researchers
probes the dust,
scalpeling layers skin thin
in monastic stillness of held breath
formed by the gallery of grieving relatives.

Bruised paper
in solitary, rusty confinement
aches for crumpled dreams of ivory supple youth.
From the timeless bottom of the drawer
burns to be pressed by a novel's lissome weight
eternally caressing voluptuous ebony curves.

In group folders
one record bleeds
its sorrow
into another.

They have found the paper, but not the bodies.
and no law prohibits the torture of paper
no arrest for abuse of language
no interrogation on the perversion of art.

What is more wondrous,
the torture or the documenting of it?

Still more wondrous that graveless relatives place roses
on the cardboard archive boxes.

© 2000 John P. Nordin. Do not copy.

Last modified 2/15/11; posted 5/23/99. © 2011 John P. Nordin