Ambedo On Broadway: a sestina
You: a netsuke with eyes of amber,
a language I long to master.
We’re ambling down the length of Broadway
pausing in Chinatown to listen: an erhu
whining, haunting. On the dumpling
trail again: I’m overcome.
These days I’m so easily overcome
often trapped like a wasp in amber
with every taste bud firing. Dumpling
of my dreams, I don’t want to master
my response to you, I am an erhu:
one string vibrating on Broadway.
Yellow taxis stream down Broadway,
a waterfall, I feel it, I’m overcome,
my nerves twanging like an erhu,
we’re crossing a river of amber
and dopamine. I’ve become a master
sinking my teeth into another dumpling
not just any dumpling, but a soup dumpling,
the kind you nibble and then slurp on Broadway:
a difficult skill, or you burn your tongue, master
it and you will be often flayed, overcome
with sensation, overwhelmed, amber
salty liquid speaking like an erhu,
telling you this life is good, an erhu
singing its one-note song about a dumpling,
uniting your senses into synesthesia, amber
light suffusing your being on Broadway,
numbers becoming colors, becoming overcome
now you know what the haiku master
hinted at, a haunting fragility, master
of the melancholic trance that the erhu
can pull you into, senses overcome
by a swirl of cream in coffee, a dumpling
releasing its steam, the flow of traffic on Broadway,
the flickering of ginkgo leaves, an amber
dawn, an obscure sorrow to fix in amber,
to feel forever this ambedo on Broadway,
you and I on this trail of the dumpling.
Originally from Minnesota, Julie Hart has lived in London, Zurich and Tokyo and now in Brooklyn Heights. Her work can be found in PANK Magazine, The Rumpus, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Poets Anthology and at juliehartwrites.com. She is a founder with Mirielle Clifford and Emily Blair of the poetry collective Sweet Action.