Grey Morning

Grey mouths open
on the round
plate of the sea.
Grey clouds swallow
silent mouths
of sea.

And at the bottom
there are fish,

Lain in watery caves,
their bodies cold
and horizontal
sleeping, all the fishes
of the sea.

One holds beneath a fin
a little winter sun.

Its weak light
goes up, opening
a pale dawn
in each grey mouth of sea.

The ship passes
but the fishes
stay asleep.

And gulls traces signs of zero
over the immensity.

By Alfonsina Storni
translated, from the Spanish, by Meghan Flaherty

Meghan Flaherty is an MFA candidate in Nonfiction and Literary Translation at Columbia. She is currently working on a book-length personal history of Argentine tango.

Alfonsina Storni is both the Dorothy Parker and the Virginia Woolf of Argentina. Her work is acid, stark, and melancholic, sometimes masked in singsong rhyme, and often brimming with a strident feminism decades beyond her time. In 1938, she walked into the sea, ending her life.