“Second Dream of Ralf” – “Ambulance” – “Ambulant”

Second Dream of Ralf

The following night
we take the ropeway
The frozen mountain rises
before us like a wall,
separating us from earth and sky
A diseased half-empty world,
through circles of survival

of the paths open to me
I choose the steepest
Pitch black and icy
I slide down blindly,
Ralf walks behind

to where the village’s
hostile inhabitants,
eager to attack,
the fight back to civilisation,
must we


The house with the Christmas decoration,
and the magnolia tree in bloom,
and the blackbird frozen in shock,
and an ambulance parked in the front garden,
all stand completely still.

People walk by averting their gaze,
a stoop hammered into their skin –

How many lives will they have lost before
without ever noticing.

The orange light is beating on the windows
like rain.


The garden is overgrown,
the thrushes in the hiding –
Where the ambulance stood,
a few beheaded dandelions lie,
bewildered that someone would
resent them enough to take their lives.
The Christmas decoration persists,
blinking imperturbably.

We say of the dead that sometimes they walk,
they left no footprints here –
What stays instead is the memory
of a scare, and guilt-ridden shame
for the windows made blind,
as if they knew they were meant
to keep disclosure inside,
that emptiness is best hidden
by a display of tame beauty.

— Alexandra Fössinger is a German/Italian native speaker from Italy. Having lived in Germany, Sweden, and France, she is fluent in several languages; her poems, which she writes mainly in English, often express those multilingual experiences. Her writing has appeared/is forthcoming in Tears in the Fence, morphrog, Wild Court, bind, Mono, and others.

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