BY CATHERINE POND
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 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.