“deaf cats,” a Poem by Monika Herceg

From the Collection Initial Coordinates, tr. by Marina Veverec

April 29, 2022  By Monika Herceg

when the thunder god rearranged the sky
the first lightning struck our barn
and the second struck young kata

they buried her neck-deep
in the garden next to the onion beds
and waited two days
for her arms to sprout
out of the wet black soil

it was yet another miracle
the villagers had witnessed
our deaf cats meowing wretchedly
not hearing their own voices
nor the purring guts full of mice and kittens
and kata wore the lightning underneath her heart
now skipping
like a broken toy


initial coordinates

Excerpted from Initial Coordinates by Monika Herceg, translated by Marina Veverec, available via Sandorf Passage.

Monika Herceg
Monika Herceg
Monika Herceg, born in 1990, is the author of three poetry collections, including the widely acclaimed Pocetne koordinate (Initial Coordinates, SKUD Ivan Goran Kovacic, 2018), Lovostaj (Closed Season, Jesenski i Turk, 2019), and Vrijeme prije jezika (The Time Before the Tongue, Fraktura, 2020). She has received six national prizes, most notably the Goran for Young Poets and the Fran Galovic Prize. English-language translations of her work have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Exchanges, Asymptote, Harvard Review, and Words Without Borders.

More Story
Why Robert Hanssen Was America’s Most Damaging Spy Hosted by Andrew Keen, Keen On features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the economic,...

Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.