Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert
In memoriam

Brother, today I’m sitting out on the bench of our house,
where we miss the world out of you.
I remember us playing at this hour, and how Mamá
would soothe us with her “There now, boys. . .

First it’s my turn to hide,
the way I used to, from all the evening
prayers, and I hope you will not find me.
Through the parlour, the foyer, the corridors.
Now it’s your turn, and I can’t find you.
We’d make each other cry, brother,
whenever we played this game.

Miguel, you hid yourself
one night in August, it was almost morning,
but instead of laughing, you were down.
And here your twin heart, from those days
that are all extinct now, is tired of not finding you.
A shadow is lengthening over my soul.

Listen, brother, don’t be late
in turning up, all right? Mamá will start to worry.



A mi hermano Miguel


In memoriam

Hermano, hoy estoy en el poyo de la casa,
donde nos haces una falta sin fondo!
Me acuerdo que jugábamos esta hora, y que mamá
nos acariciaba: “Pero, hijos. . .

Ahora yo me escondo,
como antes, todas estas oraciones
vespertinas, y espero que tú no des conmigo.
Por la sala, el zaguán, los corredores.
Después, te ocultas tú, y yo no doy contigo.
Me acuerdo que nos hacíamos llorar,
hermano, en aquel juego.

Miguel, tú te escondiste
una noche de agosto, al alborear;
pero, en vez de ocultarte riendo, estabas triste.
Y tu gemelo corazón de esas tardes
extintas se ha aburrido de no encontrarte. Y ya
cae sombra en el alma.

Oye, hermano, no tardes
en salir. Bueno? Puedo inquietarse mamá.

From Los heraldos negros (Editorial Losada, S. A., 1918) by César Vallejo. Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert. This poem is in the public domain.