[Sorry, something went wrong]

A boy is breaking
rocks on the porch. He is
mining treasure. The sun
fierce on his neck and
he will burn. Such a tiny
worry. Forty-nine mothers

He is sending small shards
flying. I say put on safety
glasses. [Syntax Error]
I say don’t make a mess.
I will keep your treasure

safe. Something went wrong. Sorry.
Some huddled in a bathroom, tried
to connect with those outside.

They were [Error_Secure_Failure] 49.
They were made
into a mess. They are still
with us. Waiting.

There are systems
in place. Legislative procedures.
[Error_Autodetection_Failed]. Once
there was the possibility of law.
Now there are moments

Sorry, something, something, something
of silence. Again
[Out of Memory] again.

The system [has encountered a problem
and needs to close. We are sorry
for the inconvenience] failed.
[Abort, Retry, Fail]
No one [Error_Name_Not_Resolved] answers
simple questions. The simplest
request [Access Denied]
is gaveled away. Prayers
keep coming.

I can say [Error_Secure_Failure]
I’m scared. I can say
I don’t know what to do. There is a House
where no one is allowed
to say this. There is a House with blood

on its hands. Sorry, something went horribly
wrong. Sorry, some people were asked to fix this.
Again [Error_Operation_Canceled] again.

I want to say [Error_Cannot_Connect]
something. [Error_Connection_Error]
I have a pile of rocks [Error_Shut_Down].
I want to say You are
the most powerful people.
I want to say
             [File Not Found]
             [Device Not Ready]
Our children are too easily
Shutting down.



Michele Battiste is the author of Uprising (2014) and Ink for an Odd Cartography (2009), both from Black Lawrence Press. She is also the author of several chapbooks, most recently Left: Letters to Strangers (Grey Book Press, 2014). She lives and works in Colorado.

poetryBarzakh Mag