The First Mistake
Holding his hand was the first mistake.
Then we went to dinner—Italian—
a restaurant near his apartment. Then
to a movie—Fatal Attraction. Why
that movie, I still don’t know. But,
at the time, it was fun. Then we kissed
on his bed. After the courtship, the marriage.
Three years of calm. Three years of peace.
Then began his insults—like spears
from an army attacking. A few at first then
more and more until I responded in kind.
Then the beatings, the throwing—he threw
all kinds of things—dishes, lamps,
the dog’s bowl and bone. Then he broke
the door. And, all the time, the screaming.
Him at me. Me at him. And, now, he’s
finally gone. Hallelujah! I cry.
Hallelujah! into my empty hands.
To Marcia Hall
Let me remind you who I am. It’s been many years.
After I wrote a paper for class on Pontormo’s Deposition
evoking the grief of the man and the woman
who lift Christ down from the Cross, of Mary, Mother of God
and of the artist himself by analyzing color, shape, space, value and line
you praised it highly. “Professional,” you said. “Insightful.” “Elegant writing.”
When you read my thesis on Titian—his Venus de Urbino—
you offered to help with a Ph.D., find me a job as critic,
introduce me to your colleagues. Do you remember?
Well here I am at Woodlands on a fifteen minute break
from digging graves, blowing leaves, laying sod.
At times a gentle rain falls like mercy on the graves
and shakes me alive with beauty. Remember or not, Doc,
thanks for the Art, for your smiles and your praise—
they dropped, it seemed, from heaven like the rain.
Guillermo Lanza, prior to the pandemic, could be found wandering around South and Central America. He is now in Bogota, Colombia for the duration. His work has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, Nine Cloud Journal and Potomac Review.