In Honor of Hermanas

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Hermanas/Sisters {Photo courtesy of Elsie Rivas Gomez}

The biggest surprise of having hermanas is how much they truly adore each other. When I was pregnant, I cannot tell you how many people lamented the fact of “another girl.” Over and over people asked, “oh, how does your husband feel about that?” As if it was some sort of tragedy! As if he was some jerk who would be saddened by the prospect of another girl.

It never occurred to either of us to be anything but overjoyed at the birth of a baby, boy OR girl, yet we have both been pleasantly surprised at how amazing having sisters really is. I grew up the baby of six kids    — my nearest sibling is fifteen years my senior, so I always longed for a sister my age who would understand my life.  Sisters have each other to complain to about mom and dad, to lean on in difficult times. Sure, they will fight — don’t we all? But there is a bond that I am privileged to watch. In honor of them, and this relationship they are building, already, I thought I’d share another poem.

Sisters a Poem by Elsie Rivas Gomez

the elder sister
jumps and squeals with such wildness
it scares me a little, but
the baby, she is delighted
eyes ablaze, mouth wide open in glee

the elder sister grabs the baby’s
chubby thighs, thighs like a horse
sumo thighs, elephant thighs
thighs of smooth silk and milk
the elder sister grabs them and I
wince, “too rough!”

but the baby rolls away like
a wriggling puppy
rises to hands and knees
she charges forward, a little bull
understanding the child’s game
I am too old to understand

when the baby cries, wailing
crimson and wet faced
shoulders shaking and hair matted
it is the elder sister who can soothe her
with nothing but a silly face
her eyes crossed, tongue jutting out
head bobbing maniacally
she knows the power of an unexpected jig
in the middle of a rough day
how her best imitation of a peacock
or a bunny hopping unevenly across the room
is ultimately, the best remedy for some heartaches

I watch them in wonder
will it always be this way?
will I always be the one standing outside
as if through glass at the zoo
or the most holy of museums
fascinated by the anthropology
of two girls who are so different?

they move differently: one with force and vigor,
the other with a stilted, enchanting kind of grace
they speak differently: one with a guileless roar,
the other with winding sentences and songs
they are completely each themselves
yet are entirely each other’s

there is a symmetry to their asymmetry
a magnetic gravity that pulls them together
no matter how hard I try to pull them apart

it’s as if coming as they do, from the same sacred place
they know things only the other knows
as if they have a knowledge and vision
of this world which allows them
to see the full spectrum of light
to hear things I will never hear
and to move forward through time and space
not one ahead of the other
but inextricably
hand in hand.

Hermanas un Poema por Elsie Rivas Gomez

la hermana mayor
salta y grita con tanta ferocidad
que me asusta un poco, pero
la bebé, ella está encantada
sus ojos encendidos, boca abierta con alegría

la hermana mayor agarra los muslos regordetes
de la bebé, muslos de caballo
muslos de un sumo, muslos de elefante
muslos de seda lisa y leche
la hermana mayor los agarra
y yo hago una mueca, “demasiado duro!”

pero la bebé, se va rodando
como un perrito retorciéndose
y se eleva en sus manos y rodillas
se arremete hacia adelante, un torito
entendiendo el juego de niños
que yo soy demasiado vieja para entender

cuando la bebé llora, dando gritos
cara rojita con frente húmeda
hombros temblando y pelo enmarañado,
es la hermana mayor la que la puede calmar
con tan solo una cara tonta
con ojos cruzados, lengua afuera
elle mueve su cabeza como loca
ella conoce el poder de un bailecito inesperado
en medio de un día difícil
cómo su mejor imitación de un pavo real
o un conejo saltando desequilibradamente a través del cuarto
es en última instancia, el mejor remedio para algunas penas

Las veo con asombro
¿Será siempre así?
estaré siempre afuera viendo hacia adentro
como si a través del vidrio en el zoológico
o el más santo de los museos
fascinada por la antropología
de dos niñas que son tan diferentes

que se mueven de forma diferente: una con fuerza y ​​vigor,
la otra con una gracia torcida y encantada
que hablan de manera diferente: una con un rugido inocente,
la otra con frases sinuosas y canciones
que son completamente únicas,
y sin embargo pertenecen completamente la una a la otra

hay una simetría a la asimetría de ellas
una gravedad magnética que las junta
sin importar cuánto trate de separarlas

es como que si viniendo, como lo hacen, del mismo lugar sagrado
saben cosas que sólo la otra sabe
como si tuvieran un conocimiento y una visión
de este mundo, que les permite
ver todo el espectro de la luz,
escuchar cosas que yo nunca oiré
y avanzar a través del tiempo y el espacio
no una adelante de la otra
pero inextricablemente
mano a mano.

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