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POETRY: Error 404

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Art by A&W contributor

One day,

When we awake

with a jolt

and find that

we have never really


in the stretch of our existence,

we ponder.

Is this a mistake,

an error?

A glitch in the system

that was so carefully crafted around us?

When we open our eyes, it is still blurry.

We frantically scrub

at ash and soot

that pour from the skies with

bristly wooden scrub brushes we find

tossed into our laps.

But the screens

are not clear yet;

they will not be for a period of time.

We can try

to wipe them clean

and polish them nicely

but there will always be




that we will never be able to send away.

They will forever exist with us,

mold into a part of our journeys,

and maybe that

is a good thing.

When we see

for the first time,

it is terrifying





all at the same time.

We are hesitant

and afraid

that the world will reject us; the world will


and hate

and curse

and look down upon us,

but it won’t matter.

We breathe in Liberty with each step while



down our veins into

the crystal glass

we now coat with sweeps and flourishes,

hands streaked vermillion

and burnt,

but we don’t care.


Noreen Chen is a Chinese-American high schooler from New York. She has a great interest in the arts, especially writing, drawing, painting, and graphic design. She has recently unearthed (yikes sorry) a passion of learning about environmental issues and sustainability and hopes to become more educated on these topics. When she not brainstorming ideas, you can find her watching YouTube videos.

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