New York

By Valzhyna Mort Valzhyna Mort

Translated By Franz Wright and Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright Read the translator's notes

new york, madame,
                                  is a monument to a city

it is   
a gigantic pike
whose scales   
bristled up stunned

and what used to be just smoke   
found a fire that gave it birth

champagne foam   
melted into metal   
glass rivers   
flowing upwards   
and things you won't tell to a priest   
you reveal to a cabdriver   

even time is sold out   
when to the public's "wow" and "shhh"   
out of a black top hat   
a tailed magician   
is pulling new york out   
by the ears of skyscrapers

Source: Poetry (April 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2007
 Valzhyna  Mort


Born in Minsk, Belarus (part of the former Soviet Union), in 1981, Valzhyna Mort has been praised as “[a] risen star of the international poetry world” by the Irish Times. When she moved to the United States in 2005, she had already published her first book, I’m as Thin as Your Eyelashes, and was known across the world as an electrifying reader of her poems. Her debut collection in America, Factory of Tears, has received . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

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