He claimed it was not a woman he struck

Sophie, you perished in my own arms, the arms of a mother

When you were two and split my soul.

My daughter had disappeared from the world I had to endure.

How to survive the loss of a child, of someone I had manufactured with my very body?

You come back to me at night, when death speeds up my penmanship.


I am a woman driven by the force of death, you see it everywhere indeed.

Nobody would ever talk about it, I do and I listen, look at the images

Of my own imagined corpse, where it lies and rots,

How animals feast on it, my body that you all so glorify.

You go on and on about my beauty and I can feel it and I adapt to your etiquettes


That kill me oh so slowly. Come on, death, I thought you rode like the winds?

Don’t let me be bored first, let adventures befall me, let me wrestle first.

I look at Greek mythology, the heroes and heroines, the fallen creations of gods and men,

And I can’t tell whether I envy them, I am their companion, surely, I feel their breath

On my face when I look at their statues, hear their names across my ears.


But they were so very forlorn and lonesome, cast aside and above, not of matter.

I can’t enlist, I’m not dead, still alive and wandering about, staring at open mouths

At court, babbling and exasperating everyone around them, it is tiresome, not man-made,

I give in to one dead voice, a great poet, I imagine him in my head and writing hand.

I want to disappear amongst my hair, sink into it, be entirely engulfed.


Some might say I challenge the movements and trials of death.

I always knew yet never shut my eyes, I knew what was coming, never had there

Been an escape, I tried to avoid pregnancies, some say out of vanity, some say

I binge eat, looking emaciated, being oh so pretty and royal, I will go down in history

As Vienna’s darling, but under my regime, I only think of my own demise and that I can’t wait.


What did you do, Rudolf?

My son, had I not seen it also? Had the gods not warned me?

That this day would come, this night, when you grabbed that damned gun.

I made you whole but I cannot resurrect what you have torn apart.

They are still praying for your soul nowadays, and I haven’t seen you since.


You chose death, did something I couldn’t bring myself to do.

Am I giving you a compliment? I can’t tell.

You were thirty when you chose to leave me, or was there another reason?

Only in dark colours would I be seen from your death to my own.

My beauty gives me headaches, I cannot maintain what everybody proclaims to love about me.


There will be no more portraits of me, I made that decision when I was thirty-two.

I don’t want people to discover my buried misery that withers underneath my skin.

I punish my body on a daily basis, they say I’m sick, everywhere, spreading, the ones

Closest to me. I can’t tell the diseases apart, I reside in my mind, leave me to it.

They have made a statue out of me and I am still alive.


And then you came, Luigi. Had I not invited you into my life long before it was overripe?

You walked up to me and stabbed me in the chest, one quick move, to take my breath

Away. I thought nothing happened, almost, but death got me there, at last.

You wanted to strike an Empress you said, make a bold statement, choke my sovereignty.

Break the crown and what it represents, unholily, what you did was

Releasing a hollowed-out erring ghost in Geneva.


“Elisabeth, Kaiserin von Österreich” by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)





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