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The grownups
What time are they coming back?
Blind Santiago is tolling six
and it's already very dark.

Mother said she wouldn't be long.

Aguedita, Nativa, Miguel,
be careful going by there, where
doubled-over griefs
snuffling their memories have just passed by
toward the silent barnyard, and where
the hens are only now settling down
they were so scared.
We'd better stay right here.
Mother said she wouldn't be long.

We shouldn't be upset. Let's go see
the boats - mine's the prettiest of all —
that we play with the whole blessed day
without fighting, as it should be:
they're still in the puddle, ready
with a cargo of good things for tomorrow.

Let's wait like this, obedient, since there's
no choice, for the return, the excuses
of the grownups, always the first
to leave us little ones at home
as though we too
couldn't go away.

Aguedita, Nativa, Miguel?
I am calling, I'm groping around in the darkness.
You can't have left me here alone,
and the only one shut in is me.


César Vallejo
Translation by Sandy McKinney

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