Death of a Baroness: Mary Vetsera

Looking back on my death, on the continuous disturbances within my grave and coffin,

I cannot seem to find him next to me, what good did it do,

To let myself be eviscerated?

I wrote you a letter, mother, didn’t I?

Did it arrive too late?

Was my body hidden, taken away from you, made part of intrinsic cover-ups and lies?

I was seventeen when I wanted to die.

Did I romanticise my decay?

Or did I blindly idealise the man and not recognise the haunting mental illness,

The drive, the vehicle, the violence-harbouring instrument?

Did I take a look at his face and crave to fall alongside him?

Rudolf, who had never been mine, nor his wife’s, nor Mizzi’s.

I trusted a man in sheer dissolution.

A man with a gun, a man who made love to me or so it seemed,

Something seemed to stick.

Not one bullet wound was discovered in my beautiful skull,

I had been struck, yes, but was I still alive then?

Had I been carrying our child, Rudolf?

Was that our glorious Mayerling plan?

To erase what’s ours at night in total isolation?

To risk my life for the deracination of another?

I let us do it, there are many voices contradicting each other here,

I cannot remember.

It all went wrong, Rudolf, I died as my child was cut away from my body,

And you murdered your own head, but from the back, we don’t make sense,

Never have.

Who created us like this?

I hear you wanted companionship in death, but I had never been your first choice,

What your heart truly pretended to want,

Mizzi, always, stronger, she was older than me and she denied your quest for utter

And eternal destruction, why could she not save me also?

I wasn’t her responsibility, that’s on me.

Seventeen. And deceased.

What was I thinking?

What happened to me? The Baroness?

How did murder suicide become something à la mode?

I took love seriously,

And he his death wish.

We knew how to seduce one another,

To end it all under false assumptions and ideals.

I believed in what I chose and what was done to me.

They say you shot me in the head, Rudolf, through my left temple,

I know that you broke my heart in retrospect.

You couldn’t be alone.

Could you even love?

Did I give you a reason to commit to death?

All of these images surround us and our names.

I thought I’d be free.

But not of you.

I thought we’d be together, in death, interwoven, bound by our pact,

Or whatever it was, whatever our cards laid bare.

Instead, I stare at my body in disarray, from above, or below,

How they buried me in that dress that changed its colour alongside my decomposition,

That sad fashionable boa, my satin shoes, my wounded remains,

And my long black hair, that reminded me that I would never grow old.


“Baronesse Mary Vetsera” 1888 Österreichische Nationalbibliothek


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