Despite the ambulance’s best insistence,
there’s just no hurrying through rush-hour traffic.
An inch is gained, with time a foot, toward graphic
spatter perhaps or seizures in the distance.
We plug our ears. How interrupted we are.
How long before they get to load the gurney
and scream, scream through another crosstown journey?
How long before he’s hooked up in the ER?
The blare is bad but worse the rude reminder
we must die. We would be deafer, blinder
to revelations like this: incremental
mortality advancing—trite, ungentle,
compulsory. To think we must stop breathing.
To think of beeps, then nothing—
we are seething.
Aaron Poochigian earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His latest poetry collection, American Divine, the winner of the Richard Wilbur Award, came out in 2021. He has published numerous translations with Penguin Classics and W.W. Norton. His work has appeared in such publications as Best American Poetry, The Paris Review and POETRY.