Kit Hamada


error line 1
variable undefined

“Mind your grammar boy
or nothing else will fall in place”

This is not what she meant, precisely
as I sit here
tapping instructions into this black box
that fail to compile
fail to compile

error line 17
array index out of bounds

Like an array, my capacity is limited.
If I didn’t have to struggle with this,
maybe none of the rest would matter

but my nightmares leave me stranded in infinite loops
and I wake remembering that I am not that person.

error line 39
invalid expression

I am this.
This imperfect program, each time commanded to run
(a machine, playing god to a machine)
and so I try again, add whitespace and optimism
and think this is a little bit like childhood
(a little bit like torture).

If I can only get through this
If I can pass–
I’ll go on to define my own languages

error line 42
division by zero

“I don’t know who you are anymore”
she sobs, bitter.

You know who I am. Please.
Even if you don’t understand.

error line 144
mismatched parentheses

And I think, in my new soft body
and my hair, curling long around my face
I finally know who I am as well:

one more variable, cast uncertain
into this unyielding environment

one more bug in the code

or perhaps I am just space,
loosely defined
too free to compile.

error line infinity
and counting



Kit Hamada graduated from Wellesley College in 2009 with a double major in Computer Science and English. This is her first poetry publication. She lives in frozen Madison, WI with two large dogs who try their best to be lap dogs (and occasionally succeed).

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