Sarah Arvio

August 21, 2021 Arvio Sarah



I haven’t got a fingernail or bed
or even the bed of a fingernail
and I was hoping that you were the nail
that would hang me up on the joy wall
and I was hoping you were the finger
that would point me toward the rainbow
as the rain bowed and slashed and all
the colors stood still in the singing wind
I haven’t got a mailbox or a box
for my files or my fingernail filings
I haven’t got a box of photographs
or a graph of the days of rage and pain
or only on my heart which hurts me
I haven’t got a file to cut off the chain
or a ring  I wanted a ring and a song
a bed with a head a heart and a soul
though there are so many places to sleep
I have to say you hit the nail on the head
and that was my nail and my head and now
I am dead  there are so many places to sleep
I have fallen from the joy wall and died


Sarah Arvio’s newest book of poetry is Cry Back My Sea (Knopf 2021)she has also recently published Poet in Spain: new translations of poems and a play by Federico García Lorca (Knopf 2017). Arvio, who attended the Columbia University School of the Arts in New York, has won a number of prizes, including the Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Her poems and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, Boston Review, The American Poetry Review, and in many other journals. She has held residencies at the American Academy in Rome, the Residencia de Estudiantes (Madrid), the Collège international des traducteurs littéraires (Arles), and at the Yaddo and MacDowell colonies. A lifelong New Yorker, she has worked for many years as a translator for the United Nations in New York and Geneva.  She has also taught at Princeton and Columbia.