To My Brother Miguel (in memoriam) by Cesar Vallejo

by Steven McCabe

Brother, I’m sitting on the bench at our house

where your absence is a bottomless pit.

I remember that this is the time we used to play

and that Mama would pat us and say, “Boys, boys…”

    Now I’m hiding, as I used to,

from all those eventide prayers,

and hoping you don’t stumble upon me.

Through the sala, the entry hall, the corridors.

Later, you go hide, and I don’t find you.

I remember that we made each other cry

brother, playing that game.

   Miguel, you hid

one night in August, near dawn;

but instead of laughing, as you hid,  you were sad.

And your twin heart from those bygone

afternoons is weary from not finding you. And now

a shadow is falling over my soul.

Listen, brother, don’t wait too long to come out.

All right? You might upset Mama.

Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden