| Poetry

The Rogue Translation

Karen An-hwei Lee


Bird is niao in the original Mandarin.


Un oiseau avec la bicyclette jaune —

The word oiseau is French for bird.
Translation:  A bird with a yellow bicycle.


An untethered wild bird, a rogue translation

flaps its wings, resists capture, flies off the page. 


Translation:  There is no yellow bicycle here —


A free bird in the wilderness, a rogue translation  

with wings escapes from paper.


Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo Press, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo Press, 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande Books, 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, she lives and teaches in Southern California, where she is a novice harpist. She earned an M.F.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

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