Swinging into Cycles at Sunset Park
Inspired by the experiences I had in a park I’ve been going to since childhood.
Orange flames dance in a sky of hot pink dawn,
Returning when the sun sinks into the river at dusk.
Try to convince yourself that you can see stars
In the light-filled dark of Sunset Park.
The fiery sun sinks into the river at dusk,
Yet voices continue to flow through the trees
Amidst the light filled dark of Sunset Park,
Aunties dancing together to Chinese songs.
Voices that are flowing through the trees,
Echoing laughter from running children,
Aunties dancing together to Chinese songs,
Completes the symphony of Sunset Park.
Laughters echo from running children
Playing under the silver gaze of the moon.
You watch the symphony of Sunset Park,
Feeling the breeze as it brushes your cheeks.
Playing under the silver gaze of the moon,
Kicking off the earth, you swing to the sky.
Feeling the wind stinging your cheeks as
You resist the urge to let go and jump.
Back and forth, you swing in the sky,
Living the same endless loop day and night.
Resisting the urge to break free and jump,
The stars remain silent, the answers unknown.
Living the same endless loop day and night,
Lying to yourself that you can see stars.
Answers hidden by the light of the flames
That dance once again in the hot pink dawn.
I wrote the first draft of this poem in a poetry class after a lesson about pantoums, in a free-write using the theme of location. Afterwards I left it in my notebook for a while, before I took the poem out, added some verses, and polished it. Sunset Park is a place dear to me, somewhere I visited constantly throughout my childhood. It’s where I had many of my first experiences, such as playing on a swing, riding a bike, using a scooter, taking my first jog, and more. I want to show the constancy of Sunset Park, both how it remains unchanged throughout the years and the place it has in my life.
Freda Dong is a young writer who writes poetry and hopes to write short stories. She is Chinese American. Freda loves astronomy, history and fantasy and spends her free time reading and listening to music. Her hobbies include puzzle games and collecting stationery. She lives under a rock and keeps up with almost no social trends. She will never, ever, ever download TikTok.