Back to Issue Eleven.




White taffeta circled her waist
looped with a thin brown belt. I reached out and slid
my hand under. Don’t,
she said. We’re sisters.

Outside the castle, the kingdom
fluttered apart. Blues and reds and golds
bled out against the snow. Our mother

had lost her mind. She had found
religion. At night I watched through the keyhole
as she lowered herself
in front of the bearded starets. I didn’t know about
sex. I was in love

with my sister.
This was before Tsarskoye Selo,
before Yekaterinburg,
before I watched her body drop
into my lap like a piece
of driftwood, all that dark hair
against my hand.

This poem is written in the voice of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and imagines her life at the time of the Russian Revolution.

Catherine Pond’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Antioch Review, Boston Review, Salmagundi, Tupelo Quarterly, and others. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, and serves as the Assistant Editor of Salmagundi Magazine and Associate Poetry Editor of H.O.W. Journal.