A Girl Takes a Linux Class at IBM

This was published in The New York Quarterly a while ago.


From the root of UNIX

we branch in all directions, and my map

shows rooms within rooms within rooms,

so you'd think I could find a place here.


But I'm still in the dark.

Low laughter floats past the row of screens

by one who already knows the subject

and I crash.


You don't centralize your user database? he asks,

stunned by my sin.

I shrug, smile, wish I could unplug him,

wish I could

stand up, because every chair in this room

is too high for me, and my legs have gone numb


like his eyes—

he is only a man

who has mastered machines

so he is far more lost than I am.

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Midwest USA

©2019 by Carol Everett Adams