The Wee She Dog


By Jose Manuel Marroquín
Translation by Lina Ferreira

Human imagination
Is too thin and narrow
To realize how often our
Truths exceed expectation

One morning out went a lad
Hunter, of this art most deft,
In his skill, he was the best
Pupil Diana ever had

A hunting party close behind,
Of practiced huntsmen,
Spotters, crossbowmen,
And whippers-in, for game to find

Off, over hills and creeks
They were armed and ready
Daring, trained, and many,
With dogs of many breeds

The steeds rode front,
Hunting horns, and all the rest
That Mortin would request,
In his poem, “The Hunt”

Soon enough they found her
A boar of great proportions
Who, despite all objections,
Took off in a whir

So began the noisy hunt
To slay that piggish vermin
A craftier beast there’s never been
Did confound all she’d confront

The hunters tried in every way
To capture their chosen prey
And though they spent the day
That beast they could not slay

So, now that readers have seen
And surely been shocked
By how one beastie had mocked
Such an expert hunting team

Listen to what followed, every bit
And though you’ll wonder about
The veracity, do not doubt
For he who tells it, is he who saw it

At the foot of a green hill
Where that day they’d toiled
A small old woman lived
Who hearing barking still

Wanted badly to know
How the party had fared
So up the hill she dared
While the moon hung low

A wee she-dog at her side…
But, before more is writ
It is best pause real quick
And the poor creature describe

The decrepitest of creepers,
This prime antediluvian cur
And among every bitch,
Known to be the proto-bitch

Thin, too, was the beast
The thinnest of her kind
Almost too hard to define,
The quasi-semi-former-mongrel-canine-cyst

And mangy—no wait,
More than a mangy mutt
She was a muttish mange cut
Down to canine shape

Bent, also, like a spring
A breath could knock her flat
She was, more likely, in fact
Hardly a dog and barely a thing

So, toward the ruckus and groans
Went the old woman spryly
With this bitch for company
Which is basically alone

And their luck was such
That just as they ambled
On this wild boar they stumbled
Hiding from death’s touch

When that animal suspected
They might finally catch him
He made escape his aim
And leapt when least expected

The woman saw this one-pig race
Uphill like fire’s smoke
And yelled “Go get it!” as a joke
But then the bitch gave chase

This emaciated beastie barking
Of whom we’ve already explained
Was hardly a dog and barely a thing
After such game went running

A sight to shake the core!
That wee she-dog, yes,
Like the others had no success
Catching the cursed boar

Jose Manuel Cayetano Marroquín Ricaurte was born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1827, only a few years after the colonial break from Spain. He died in the city where he was born in 1908, after serving as president of the nation from 1900 to 1904, and writing numerous works of poetry and prose.

Lina Ferreira is the author of Drown Sever Sing and currently works as a visiting assistant professor in The Ohio State University. She is a graduate of The University of Iowa’s Creative Nonfiction and Literary Translation programs, and her work has been featured in Arts & Letters, The Chicago Review, and Fourth Genre, among others.