Doktor Darker's Storage & Laundry

The torchère at his back cast him in shadow;
a Jugendstil desk kept visitors at bay.
He did not stand when I entered, or rose to go,
and sat silent, a grey patron at a tired play,
listening to me invoke secrecy.
His raised palm cut me off: Young man,
I don’t care how he makes money;
or who your client is, but must ask vun kvestion:
does he sell arms, or deal drugs, und I
don’t care vhat the answer is.

accounts, bearer bonds, gold pried
from teeth perhaps, lie locked in vaults under
our feet, till need or death bring settlors or heirs
with a claim check for the launderer upstairs.

("Doktor Darker's Storage & Laundry" appeared in PN Review, January-February 2015.)