For my Dear Sister (Brenda Teodora Casuga-Maglaya+)
How do I best remember you, hermanita?
That father would call you princesita mia
after a swig of Domecq and sarsaparilla?
You were not one to get excited by these,
nor would you bat an eyelash; you’d jump
off his lap and call out to me: “ ‘manong!
That was always my cue for another game
of patintero under the lone lamp on our
camino; your sad eyes lit up, you’d smile.
The smile you bravely left me when you
hugged me from your sick bed, was your
own smile, nobody else’s. I will not forget.
---Albert B. Casuga
*Culled from "Poesias Para Los Muertos". Brenda is a younger sister who died in Naguilian town in La Union Province, northern Philippines. She was my best friend.