Word on the street
by julie hart

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.