Max Sessner




The girl takes the
umbrella or
does the umbrella take
the girl
lead her out into the wet
evening and
touch her softly on the hand
seeing them from a distance
one thinks of lovers
the wind plays with the
girl’s hair
and the umbrella is speechless
with joy




Mother was busy the whole day
with her roses she
loved roses above all else no face
could defeat that a
handful of snow was my

birthday present there take it
she said but say nothing of it to Father
Father had eloped with
another woman so what
should I have said to him that the

snow melted as it lay on my
palm and became
a small lake on whose
shore a city arose in
which one more time I grew up




Time has passed the toys have
grown older the dolls of the
girl look altogether cleverer than
the girl herself what a
shock when they learned that the
girl was gone now married and

in a different city one of the dolls
consequently lost all her hair another
the right arm the dearest of all
was never found no one searched
very long for her either in order
to imagine she had gone after the girl

lovely but what if it’s true and
tattered and dirty she lay
one evening in front of the door just the
thought of it keeps me awake
and with my hands forming a funnel
I call something into the quiet house


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:

Two poems in the May 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