Max Sessner




Now the shadows wander into
the house they are like grandmothers
who look back one more time
before they leave us in

passing they arrange
the flowers in the vases ascend
the stairs and are
shadows again settle

on beds and furniture and also
they take up residence in us
fragrance of violets wafts from
our hair and the rustling of

their clothes is not intended for
others’ ears how thin they
have become lapsed from
language swiftly withering




In the not too distant future
I will be old I have
seen it coming yes a train
that approaches
you stand on the railway embankment throw

your arms in the air as if you want
to wave to a friendly
face behind the windows
but everything goes much too fast
the train is gone before you

know it and you
stay behind in a dull
place it is completely
still no bird to take wing
not a waft of air

as if you’re standing on a
rug that begins to roll
itself up from its edges
you’re tempted
to hop or to hide yourself

behind a bush
but there isn’t one so
you pause and think
a little about God
it is like before only different


MAX SESSNER’s poems are widely published in German-language magazines, and he is the author of seven books of poetry including, most recently, Küchen und Züge (Kitchens and Trains) and Warum Gerade Heute (Why Especially Today), both from Literaturverlag Droschl. An eighth book, Das Wasser von Gestern (The Water of Yesterday), will be published by edition AZUR in 2019. Sessner’s poems, tinged simultaneously with melancholy and humor, have been described by the Nürnberger Zeitung as “singing the blues of ordinary objects.” He lives with his wife in Augsburg, Germany where he works as a bookseller.


Read more by Max Sessner in B O D Y:

Three poems in the December 2018 issue
Interview with Francesca Bell in the December 2018 issue


About the Translator

FRANCESCA BELL’s poems appear in many journals, including B O D Y, ELLE, New Ohio Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Spillway and Tar River Review. Her work has been nominated ten times for the Pushcart Prize, and she won the 2014 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle. Her translations from Arabic and German appear in Berkeley Poetry Review, Blue Lyra Review, Circumference, Four by Two, Laghoo, and The Massachusetts Review. She co-translated Shatha Abu Hnaish’s book of poems, A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito (Dar Fadaat, 2017), and Red Hen Press will publish her first collection, Bright Stain, in 2019. She is the events coordinator of Marin Poetry Center and the former poetry editor of River Styx.


Read more by Francesca Bell in B O D Y:

Three poems in the March 2018 issue
Two poems in March 2016 issue
A poem in October 2015 issue
Two poems in March 2015 issue