One Sister have I in our house,
And one, a hedge away.
There’s only one recorded,
But both belong to me.

One came the road that I came —
And wore my last year’s gown —
The other, as a bird her nest,
Builded our hearts among.

She did not sing as we did —
It was a different tune —
Herself to her a music
As Bumble bee of June.

Today is far from Childhood —
But up and down the hills
I held her hand the tighter —
Which shortened all the miles —

And still her hum
The years among,
Deceives the Butterfly;
Still in her Eye
The Violets lie
Mouldered this many May.

I spilt the dew —
But took the morn —
I chose this single star
From out the wide night’s numbers —
Sue – forevermore!


This poem is about Emily Dickinson’s sister-in-law, Susan. Emily lived with her sister, Lavinia, (“One Sister have I in our house”), and she had a sister-in-law, Susan, her brother Austin’s wife, who lived next door, (“one a hedge away”.) “There’s only one recorded” (Lavinia is her only biological sister). “But both belong to me” (she considers Susan to be a sister too, although they are actually sisters-in-law).

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