Matter of Time
Crashed, and it lost my edits. Wonít get mad,
though. Just restart. And thereís the blinking square
that means it canít recall the system software.
And in the guts of magnet, wheel, and wire,
I hear a tiny clicking soundóthatís bad.
What if itís all lost? Pictures never printed.
Screen after screen of messages I meant
to read again and send responses. How
many points of data cumulatedónow
does it come to nothing, the formulas defunct?
The daredevil stacks of platters kept on spinning
faultlessly, thousands of cycles per second, as
the read-and-write heads hovered above the glass,
cushioned on slivers of air, the drive arms swinging
like weather vanesóand I was oblivious,
content to think that memory is stable,
that what was saved will always be protected,
parceled away and diligently labeled,
ready to be commanded, resurrected
just like new. But this attempt has failed,
and thereís no mechanism for encoding
bits of what we need to keep that wonít be
damaged by dust, corrupted, smudged, eroding
with every shock. Flickering vessel, donít be
fragile, I say, donít falter, donít be broken.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, David Danoff
would be pleased to hear them.