She walks without rest, and sees with eyes full of strangeness. The wool merchant has forgotten to come to get her, and she is ready.
In this world, nothing comes better equipped than the alpaca; ones is more burdened with rags than the next. Her sky-high softness is such that if a newborn is placed on her back, he will not feel a bone of the animal.
The weather is very hot. Today, large scissors that will cut and cut represent mercy for the alpaca.
When something is lost in the park, to whom do we look but this ever-prepared beast which seems to secretly carry all things?
And when children think about the objects they have lost—dolls, teddy bears, flying rats, trees with seven voices (they can be hidden in only one place)—they remember the alpaca, their infinitely prepared companion.
But look at those eyes, those astonished eyes without knowledge; they only ask why she has been harnessed for such a long trip and why no one comes to relieve her.
The high plateau is to blame for this tragedy—the mother alpaca incessantly stares at it. The mountain was also casting off burdens, and so its summit became clear, and filled the eyes of the mother alpaca.
She was taken down from the plateau and situated near a nonsensical horizon, and when she turns her neck, she continues looking for the older alpaca, for the one who sheds a pack on high, and returns to the sun’s radiance.
“What have you and I done to our Andean cordillera?” I ask the alpaca.
Gabriela Mistral, "The Alpaca" from A Gabriela Mistral Reader published by White Pine Press. Used by permission of White Pine Press.
Source: A Gabriela Mistral Reader (White Pine Press, 1993)
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Poet Gabriela Mistral 1889–1957
Poetic Terms Prose Poem