Session Five Anthology

MENTOR: George Abraham

Schloß Porcia, Spittal, July 1941

“Weißt Du nicht, was gestern Du zu mir gesagt

bei dem kühlen Brunnenwasser?”

– „Der Froschkönig“

The nurse has taken the children
back by boat so they can hike
from Spittal to Seeboden. They have stopped
to see the palace. Flight by flight,
she pans the courtyard’s storied arches
with the camera and her architect’s trained eye.

White limestone cut and placed to soar,
to last, to cradle a fated Spanish dynasty.
The palace rises above them as the camera lifts
and turns and falls, then she cuts
to film her husband as he climbs the staircase
which, porticoed, rises under ascending arches.

It’s like her young first-married life, this scene –
the squares and white tower of Pisa
where a child miscarried and the nurse in hospital
brought red wine to fortify her.

when you bleed you need to drink red things, my German roommate said, uncorked another bottle

The renaissance arrived four hundred years ago
in Austria, reached its height
within these palace walls. They are more Italy than Austria,
but Austria is Germany now and war is on,
though in the garden restaurant
the waitress still pours soup
from shining pitchers into low, wide bowls.

earlier, when he filmed her at dinner on the terrace, her quiet mouth like mine, something hooded and familiar in her eyes.

As he climbs, her husband bears the camera case
on leather straps; his jacket is white. He turns
to face her as he gains the landing
and rounds the corner;
his figure fades where it is dark.

down at the pier, their children feed a pair of swans

She climbs behind him,
trains the camera across the dated coat of arms
up on the wall. Then they walk
and she films elderberries
in bloom, waters rushing
over a dam. He’s in shirtsleeves now,
leans over the railing of one narrow bridge
and walks another, eyes down,
his shape receding.

my daughters far off-flowers, their roots grow, yellow asphodel.

Now we see the river from above,
the valley it has carved, strong-watered,
the road an asphalt S this place must bear.
A couple strolls below and two men cycle,
heading home down to the village
in the valley where on weekends
soldiers march their blood-red banners.

their not-yet voices hum. At night, my husband delivers babies.

In the last frame
she has stepped ahead,
films him walking in her direction
in colored glasses, shirtsleeves rolled,
his jacket on his arm. Water glides below.
He speaks and, smiling, steps out of the shadows.

will you be true to me as I am true to you? Where did you go, and

should I follow?


Photo by Anna Yarrow

Photo by Anna Yarrow

Monika Cassel is former Chair of Creative Writing and Literature at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. She was raised bilingual in the United States and Germany. Her chapbook Grammar of Passage won the Venture Award and is forthcoming from flipped eye publishing. Her poetry has appeared in The Laurel Review and Phoebe Journal, and her translations have appeared in POETRY Magazine, Guernica, Asymptote, Harvard Review Online, and The Michigan Quarterly Review. She lives in Portland, Oregon and teaches German at Oregon State University.



After Cathy Park Hong’s Ballad in A and Ballad in O.

trustful, truthful cupful

Quds’ hummus brunch

umm unfurl




subtly clumpy crumbs

lucky surplus slurp

plumb lustful ruckus


*Quds - Arabic for “holy” and referencing Al-Quds (Jerusalem)
* Umm - Arabic for mother
*Khubz - Arabic for bread.


Layla Goushey

the only thing keeping her alive

my father’s tongue is thick
around my mother's neck
at this angle it is easy to
mistake her head for apple   

facing head-on she is eating
an apple and my father’s tongue
is in his leathery mouth
minding it’s business

around my mother's neck
you can see the poison making
quilt-work of blue and green
if the tongue doesn’t finish her

an apple and my father’s tongue
is my mother’s favorite garnish
he is silent before her
and knows how to praise her

you can see the poison making
my mother’s will as frail as
her faded skin-her skull cracking
with the pressure of his tongue

my mother’s favorite garnish
is actually her own tongue
she chews it into plaything

the apple and the women


Acacia Salisbury