Gabriela Mistral

Song of Death

1914

Old Woman Census-taker, Death the Trickster, when you’re going along, don’t you meet my baby. Sniffing at newborns, smelling for the milk, find salt, find cornmeal, don’t find my milk. Anti-Mother of the world, People-Collector — on the beaches and byways, don’t meet that child. The name he was baptized, that flower he grows with, forget it, Rememberer. Lose it, Death. Let wind and salt and sand drive you crazy, mix you up so you can’t tell East from West, or mother from child, like fish in the sea. And on the day, at the hour, find only me.

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