The house of horrors has been re-sided a few times.
First it was all clapboards, then asphalt shingles, and finally
aluminum siding covering all the architectural detail

of this fine old home that once belonged
to a family, then became a doctor’s office until
the neighborhood changed. Today there are rooms

full of computers that store all the data
on every terror to date. In fact, today they are switching over
to a networked system, so that if you are responsible

for Bosnia, you don’t have to walk over to
the caseworker for Auschwitz, and “Incest, Rural”
and “Incest, Urban” can communicate with just

a few strokes of the keyboard. Technology changes
so quickly. The old terminals, which everyone thought
were such a marvel, now seem slow and antiquated,

their plastic cases yellowed and cracked. The new system
will be virtually paperless, so there won’t be the
nagging problems of misplaced records or the overworked

secretary who takes files home only to have them turn up
months after, tear stained, with grocery lists scrawled on the back.
They’ve been throwing the paper files out the window

into a dumpster in the backyard. Pity the poor flower beds
in what used to be the garden as a box misses the mark,
box upon box, centuries of atrocities each day. In the alley

behind the yard, day laborers are burning
the papers in a fifty-five-gallon drum, keeping warm,
soot blowing down the deserted street.