Secretaries in Heaven

This is their new office:

                                         alphabetizing clouds,

creating a database of prayers received,

prayers answered, shooing

cherubs off the Xerox,

                                      the green beam

churning out one perfect copy after another.

They have taught the saints how to multitask;

their pearl-drop fingernails

take dictation.

                            There is no need for white-out

since they’ve arrived.

                                        Heaven couldn’t be better.

The souls over their endless coffee mugs

joke about who’s really in charge.

Death has been delegated to them completely—

they’re just so efficient—the pink stubs

of their Number Twos

                                       descending from the heavens

in a swift swipe of erasure.

The afterlife requires such meticulousness.

Perpetually sending out memos to the living,

it is their business

                                to know everything under the sun.

Calves bejeweled

in shimmering nylon that never runs,

iridescent eyelids,

they whisper in their cubicles—

they know who’s next.

                                         Here in this chorus

of machines, the tone deaf copier,

the cacophony of the fax, the Golden Swingline’s

thump and thud,

                               they wait for us,

their round rumps on roller chairs that skim

across the great

                                     desperate spaces—so organized!

so detail-oriented!—singing, Hallelujah,

this is Heaven, please hold

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