A Southern Suicide: Marie-Thérèse Walter

Did I reach old age?

By your side? Never.

I fell in love with the image you created of me in your head.

How you painted me anew.

I had never seen my beauty before.


You kept me hidden.

There were decades between us.

That never changed.

But something we had in common.

Was it desire? Was it sex? Was it invisible? Life, perhaps?


In the end; had it been life, between us?

Your death never sank in.

My heart could never take it.

The whirlwind of women evaporated.

I merely remembered our own white noise.


How could they lay you to rest without my bones guarding you?

Did I go to my grave, a child?

When I look at the face you constructed, mine,

I feel beloved and seen, but I don’t have anything to do with it.

Had I been too impressionable?


Did I offer too much? Give too much away?

Everything inside of me ebbed away onto canvas, into your arms.

Will I be able to survive?

I never thought your death was possible.

It bludgeoned my heart.


You brought forth the roots around my head.

My feet afloat.

You had discovered and unveiled all that I could ever be,

All the versions of me, you had seen the future, long before I would get there.

And as life left your chest, I decided to put myself to rest,

Because I wouldn’t be able to stomach the reality without you

And betray what you created with my withering life.


“Portrait of Julia Wiemanowa née Czaban” by Franciszek Pfanhauser (1796-1865)

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