Jacek Dehnel

Museum of Anatomy: Deer / Muzeum anatomii: sarna

Like two classes in some freakish pre-school:
a torso, cyclops, cephalopod, mermaid;
bumps and carbuncles, tubercular tumors—
on shelves, in jars, lemon-hued in the light,
steeped in a stew of formaldehyde.

A chimp’s skull, cat’s skull, skull
of a horse. A larynx, vertebrae. The brain
and nervous system of a rat.
So what brings you here,
propped up with wires, tall atop a cupboard,
stiff and alert, oddly remote,
Mr. Deer?

Warsaw, 9 February 2004

Transl. Karen Kovacik


Muzeum anatomii: sarna

Ze dwa roczniki potwornego żłobka:
cyklop, głowonóg, kadłub i syrena;
guz i karbunkuł, nowotwór gruźlasty –
– w słojach, na półkach, cytrynowe w świetle,
przenikającym cienką formalinę.

Czaszka szympansa, czaszka kota, czaszka
konia. Krtań, kręgi. Muszla. Mózg i układ
nerwowy szczura.
Co ty tutaj robisz,
spięta drutami, wysoko na szafie,
sztywna i czujna, oddalona,

Warszawa, 9 II 2004

An accompanying picture below is one of a series that I had painted back then and it shows one of the foetuses in glass jars.

Museum of Anatomy: Deer / Muzeum anatomii: sarna
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About Jacek Dehnel

Jacek Dehnel (*1980 in Gdańsk) is a Polish poet, writer, translator and painter.

His first collection of poems was the last book recommended by the Polish Nobel Prize winner, Czesław Miłosz.

His works were translated into over a dozen of languages – in English are available his two novels („Saturn” and „Lala” transl. by Antonia Lloyd-Jones), the first two volumes of a crime series he writes with his husband, Piotr Tarczynski, under a pen name Maryla Szymiczkowa („Mrs Mohr Goes Missing” and "Karolina or the Torn Curtain", by the same translator). A selection of his poems „Aperture” (transl. by Karen Kovacik), was shortlisted to the PEN America Poetry in Translation award.

Dehnel has been awarded literary prizes that include the Kościelski Award and the Paszport „Polityki” and nominated to many other. He and his husband live in Berlin.