Josette Akresh-Gonzales


In a 5-by-7 foot converted storage closet,
a small group of content coders meet.
I am not the SCRUM master, but my lips tingle
when I press the numbers on the speakerphone
to begin.
There is a good chance you can get the results you want
with only the stemmed search indexes enabled.
I’d really love for us to tackle the bugs first,
then get to the enhancements.
You know that’s a fantasy, right?
Guffaws from Jack, the architect.
I’m the only woman in the room,
my suede boots and black knit dress
kicking up pheromones in the backlit morning.
As such, I’ve removed the “or” condition
(enclosed in the red box) shown below.
Jimmy via Skype.
FYI, I modified the ML script
to recognize our cluster nodes.
Our Macbooks are all open and on, warm
on our laps or the crowded table,
bitten apple shapes taking the place of mouths.
Alerts are near-constant but we ignore them,
because we project the Agile board onto the wall.
The developers on the conf line
typing and grunting, will they ever answer our questions directly?
Indexing and forest sync is now complete.
Jack could possibly be listening to the alerts, I say silently to myself,
[!--commented out].
Got the fix in my local machine already.
It’s 4:05 PM.
Three of us have brought large travel mugs of coffee to the meeting.
Public void.
I escape saying I have to step out for a minute,
the sunset over the parking lot
is red over the pines now,
but I forget to take my reading glasses off, so the effect is very Monet.
Alerts like bird whistles and pings and glockenspiels
are the soundtrack, sighs and curses are the script.
Run the script.
It appears opening an XML in Oxygen
and then pretty-formatting it
results in extra spaces
and tabs from disappearing from the Editor.
Mike ran for school board in his town and is the SCRUM master,
shows up in biker boots and ripped cargo pants,
laughs the most when I say “clusterfuck.”
Import module namespace.
Ok, I see what you're pointing at.
Jimmy, you are the man.
I've tested the code on my local and it works.
That’s exciting. This is me being excited.
Code is now checked in.
Let me know when I can deploy to DEV.
Code is now deployed to DEV.

Mad Mad Mad Mad

Oh, my god we did
fly to Tuscany
and escape the world,
with its tortured whistleblowers
in solitary and its fucking nutty wars
that go on and on
because we can’t
name them right —
and we held the tips of our fingers
on our nipples and hummed
to its twisted confessions,
confiscated phones and computers
of long-dead alleged marathon bombers
who went to the same gym as the
fellow Chechens —
and we threw a middle finger up at the world to come,
its degrading prescriptions
between the lips of doctors
on slips of Rx letterhead
placebos more often than not
with our bacteria mutating faster than we are willing to pay
for new drugs —
we forgot all that
and blinked in awe at
the cliffs of grapevines
bodies in the mirror still wet from the sea,
knocked the rocks glasses over
on the bedside tables
just like Don Draper
and his marionette of the month.

Josette Akresh-Gonzales lives in the Boston area with her husband and two boys and is a production editor at NEJM Group. Her work has been published in Literary Orphans, PANK, Black Heart Magazine and the Best of Black Heart (2014), Matter Monthly, Two Hawks Quarterly, The Charles River Journal, Clarion, and Epicenter. While she was a student at Boston University (1997–2001), she co-founded the BU Literary Society and the journal Clarion and was its editor for two years. You can find her on Twitter @vivakresh.