My Sister By Alfonsina Storni

My Sister

It’s ten o’clock at night; in the room in semidarkness
My sister is asleep, hands on her chest;
Her face is very white and very white her bed,
As if it understood, the light is almost unlit

She sinks into the bed like rosy fruit,
from smooth pastures into the depths of the mattress.
The air enters her chest and raises it chastely
With its rhythm measuring the fleeting minutes.

I tuck her tenderly into the white covers
And protect from the air her two divine hands;
Walking on tiptoe I close all the doors,
leave the shutters half-open and draw the drapes

There’s a lot of noise outside, drowning so much noise
The men are suing each other, whisper the women,
Words of hate go up, the shouts of the merchants:
Oh, voices, stop it. Don’t enter till you come to your nest.

My sister is weaving her silk cocoon
Like a skilled caterpillar: her cocoon is a dream.
With thread of gold she weaves the silken ball:
Spring is her life. I am already summer.

She counts with only fifteen Octobers in her eyes,
And so her eyes are so clean and clear;
She beleives that storks, from strange countries,
Come down carrying beautiful babies with little red feet.

Who wants to enter now? Oh, is it you, good wind?
Do you want to watch her? Come in. But first,
Warm up a moment; don’t go so soon
and freeze the gentle dream in her present.

Like you, it’s well that the rest would like to come in
and watch that whiteness, those immaculate cheeks,
Those fine bags under her eyes, those simple lines,
You would see them, wind, and kneel and weep.

Oh, if you love her, be good a day, because she
flees from the light if it hurts her. Watch your words,
and your intention. Her soul, like wax, can be carved,
But like wax, too much touch destroys her.

Do as that star that watches her by night,
Filtering its eye through a crystalline veil:
That star rubs its eyelashes and spins,
But does not wake her, silent in the sky.

Fly away, if it’s possible, for your snow-white orchard:
Piety for your soul! She is immaculate.
Piety for your soul! I know it all, it’s true.
But she is like the sky: She knows nothing.


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