Photo of Alexandra Fössinger

Alexandra Fössinger is a German/Italian native speaker from the northern Italian province of South Tyrol. She has lived in Italy, Germany and Sweden and is fluent in several languages; her poems, which she writes mainly in English, try to express those multilingual experiences. She works for an Italian advertising agency. 




The Apothecary’s Dream


They’re dancing, enormous crowds on a field,

a Brueghel kermis just outside town

to celebrate the world’s ending,


“What is happiness?

Sometimes nothing more than a full belly

and a few hours to forget the squalid drudgery.”

An Odyssey had brought me home,

where I found him waiting, thirty years and more

for life to begin elsewhere.

It would have taken me a lesser place

not to recognise his face

altered by age and sadness,

how displaced he was,

his laboratory coat serving

as an inn keeper’s costume.

He seemed forsaken, sitting between tables,

shrugging his shoulders at a time

that was no longer his,

as if it ever had been —

While all around they tossed their arms,

and legs and breaths at one another,

with no need for protection,

we, who had been open and sick for each other,

kept our distance.


© Alexandra Fossinger






the body knows it                    will not make it to september

a declaration of war declares

that war will end

but september provides time only

to grow old


we wait in a death row

we make our planet sing

on the telephone                     each week

making up a happier life

for an hour

we climb out of silence


i’m thankful for my birdhands

they free me from                   the slavery of being human

perfect my body

in a truer way


last night

i dreamt of a former love        24 years ago were closer

than you and I are in space


we who disgraced now humbly share

this continually protracted



© Alexandra Fossinger



I live in the spider flat now,

we share the last space I’m given.

Hungrily, they scuff in the dust

of the dried-out, milked-out heart.

Head hanging down, I am held

by the thread gouging greedily

into the prison months.

Who fed me, who held my hands,

divided my fingers until they became

myriads, tributaries of rivers?

Static in the darkness I travelled

the red and purple insides of your body,

warmed my hand in the safe space

between your undulating heart and

the walls confining it; for every second

I was too soft, I was your pericardium.

And then, the coronary explosion.

And then, the loud bang,

exiling me into the spider flat,

the darkest age for ever between us.


© Alexandra Fossinger



You tried for years to be

a girl’s heron, folded your

wings to a fraction of

their beating, you, simply


where should you have

placed them, large as

they were?


Your feathery essence,



demanded, often,

something more solid,

a horse’s gallop, its energy,

hooves stirring the dust,

but eluded understanding:

hers, theirs.


A dream, she

demanded, firmly,

I want it, try

to resurface for me,

but something made you

strand, lie there dying with

the big sad eyes of a mammal

who had its tears stolen.


What do they want,

who cannot read us?


I never saw you as less than

the sentient guardian of

your fragile

animal nature,

human by coincidence.

And loved your gifts:

conversing with birds, trees

before I loved you.


I did not want to

befall you by


or alter your dreams

to make me enter

your garden.


I was as cautious

as you

never to break the eggshell

but the eggshell breaks,


is flaw brought to



“A whale is no more a fish than a horse is.”


© Alexandra Fossinger