The Poetry Project

Union Avenue

Aaron Tian

Spirited whispers of lives I’ll never know
Rush past me all at once, bouncing off my ears
Like rapid white water on eroded stones
Each one a pleasure to know, to imagine
And soon a tragedy to have lost, never to be heard again

Off-tune keys of syndicate ice cream trucks
Children sprinting ahead of breathless parents
Diesel vehicles shoving by in impatient huffs
Old neighbors exchanging laughs and swigs of Georgi

If I could capture each sacred, inharmonious sound
Siphon them one-by-one from the natural flow their lives
Like brown bears snatching salmon from their voyage to the sea
To be kept safe by my side, a tchotchke on my nightstand
Suspended in time forever, like model planes in a glass jar

Would the vibration of their lives
The rhythm of their marching
The music of their dissonance
Still sing to me?

Work from “Just speak nearby” with Kimberly Alidio