Unidentified Animal by Ronaldo Kattan, translated by Katherine M. Hedeen

these did not enter the Ark:

the giraffes
whose necks, in the early days, were very short
and roamed the jungle downcast, longing
for the highest leaves

the Dodo and the Rodrigues solitaire
forgotten in the deserted islands of the Indian
who relinquished the divine grace of flight

the black swans
for they weren’t created by God but
/a poet

all the fish
the great whales
and the smallest organisms
in the eye of a weeping girl

no dragons unicorns or Pegasus
of the bird species, only the domesticated
chickens geese ducks rooster
and as the scriptures state: the

the centaurs were left behind
Nereids fauns and Borges’ spherical

because there were too many and they were too big
most of the dinosaurs
but of all the animals there
I can’t make out the one roaming through my body
Rolando Kattan (Tegucigalpa, 1979) is a poet, publisher, bibliophile, and cultural activist. He has brought out five books of poetry and received honorable mention in the Ruben Dario Poetry Prize. He founded and co-edited Leer es Fiesta, a project that distributed one million books for free. Kattan owns the most important collection of Honduran literary and history books in Honduras, and recently founded the traveling museum Honduras Ex-Libris, based on his collection.

Katherine M. Hedeen’s latest book-length translations include night badly written (Action Books) and tasks (coimpress, longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award, shortlisted for the National Translation Award, 2017) by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, and Nothing Out of This World, an anthology of contemporary Cuban poetry (Smokestack, Winner, English PEN Award). She is the Poetry Translation Editor for The Kenyon Review and a two-time recipient of a NEA Translation Project Grant. She is a Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College.