I spoke to my brother
for the first time ever
the other day.
He didn’t say much.
I apologised for being
twenty-eight years late
but I wasn’t good
with words when I
was one year old.

I went to see my brother
by myself, for the first time ever
the other day.
I didn’t know if he was expecting me.
I chastised myself for
forgetting his exact spot
but it had been a while
since my last visit.

I walked up the path
scanning the rows for him,
came up behind him like
my parents and I usually do
put my hand on the black stone
like it was his shoulder
and moved around the side
to read engraved
“Carla Rodriguez”.
My brother waited
in the next row.

Shamed, I walked towards him and
again, put a hand on the stone
– not as natural a gesture
as I had hoped, as the stone was
lower than I had remembered.
Just another thing I didn’t remember.
I walked in front of him and said
hello for the first time in my life, probably.
Muttered some words in hushed tones,
checking there was nobody else around.
The day was pleasant.
I hated the sound of my own voice,
as I always do, but more so
in the quiet of the cemetery.
So futile and hollow.

I told my brother that my visit
would be our secret. It’s all we have
that we share, just the
two of us. A woman with two
children a few rows away
shouted at her kids to be quiet.
I hadn’t even heard her children.
“She’s trying to wake you up, I think,”
I whispered to my brother. One of the
children looked over at me, and the
woman followed suit, suitably
embarrassed. After a moment of
looking back at her, and unsure
what else to do or say, I said
goodbye to my brother. I think
I told him I would come back.
And I will. It won’t be the only
conversation we have, the only
time we say hello, the only time I
see him on my own, the only secret
we share. I think my secrets
would always have been
safe with him.