"Bureau of Missing Persons"

"Bureau of Missing Persons"

"Bureau of Missing Persons"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 17 2007 7:24 AM

"Bureau of Missing Persons"

Click here to listen to James Reiss read this poem.

In the dead writer's last short story the characters have no names. They speak without quotation marks in a setting that looks less like a penthouse than a storeroom for books and old scrolls. Still, when they stride out to their terrace and peer over the city, they swear this is the ultimate high-rise, the true resolution to a plot involving disappearances. Like a bureau of missing persons, they gaze down at holiday shoppers, taxicabs yellow as sunset, and swear they'll find dog walkers dreaming up haikus, day-trader night readers of eBooks—all stalking the sidewalks. Each evening the atmosphere deepens. The short story loses its way.

James  Reiss' most recent book is Riff on Six: New and Selected Poems. His novel, Façade for a Penny Arcade, is forthcoming in 2008.