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The line to get in winds back to Leningrad, O, poor lost souls. Once, I made it to the front. New Year’s Eve. The turn of the century. Many of the ghosts were curious, stepped out for a smoke, peered deep into the neon lights outside the Bureau of What We Left Behind.

The clerk said “It says here on my computer there’s an error at the Bureau of Life. Your payment to the Bureau of Heaven has processed, but we’re missing form 1-B: Proof of Death.”

I had tried. When I floated to the Bureau of Life, there was a collage of signs on the door. No smoking. No skeletons. A man (I could tell, by his bright blue sneakers, alive) wearing a sheet with holes cut out, crossed through by a red prohibition sign.

Babies strolled by in suits, an endless line, out the exit of the Bureau of the Womb and through the door of the Bureau of Life. I tried to meet them on their level. Bent low and asked their price to file on my behalf.

Each time I started, they saw my face and cried.