Réquiem: Quatre Scènes et un Épilogue

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Réquiem: Quatre Scènes et un Épilogue

by Linda M. Rodríguez Guglielmoni

Para Lisbeth, asesinada

en una noche de febrero,

el mes del amor,

en las calles de San Juan.

Si soy Autor y si la fiesta es mía,

por fuerza la ha de hacer mi compañía.

Y pues que yo escogí de los primeros

los hombres, y ellos son mis compañeros,

ellos, en el teatro del mundo…

Pedro Calderón de la Barca

                                     Scène Première: The Dream

I dropped the queen’s crown. My five-year-old hands let it slip and slide from its satiny stand. Glass and metal on the ground, time to find another crown. My father saved the moment. With his handy hands he put the crown together again. I, in a long satiny red dress ‑what a burden for a child‑ trembled, step by step, through the ballroom but delivered the metal and glass object to the strong hands of a handsome prince that placed it on my cousin’s regal head. Crowned and queen for a night, my cousin Mari was beautiful. She stood, her dream fulfilled. I could now go to sleep and have my own childlike dream.

Scène II: The Funeral

I went through the glass doors and up the stairs. People sat silently waiting. Mari’s twenty-year-old daughter was dead, victim of a failed carjacking attempt. She was the queen that day in her shiny metal box, crowned with passionate long stemmed red roses. Only the best for the queen… The politicians attended. The police chief called for a special task force to solve this senseless crime. ‑Nice girl, from a good family. What a shame, what are we coming to.‑ A seventeen-year-old boy was apprehended. They say he confessed to the crime. Did he do it? Why did he? Always the same answers that give no satisfaction.

Scène III: The Murder

Romeo and Juliet met that night, each from the wrong side of the track. Star-crossed lovers, destiny sent them out and as they met at the crossroads of fate, Cupid pierced her heart with a shaft of light from his Magnum 45. Did you look in each others eyes? Did you recognize this moment? Ecstasy. Glass and metal shattered. She offered up her blood to the metropolitan gods of need and greed, want, jealousy, and hopelessness. –Two lonely inhabitants of an urban jungle, needing their daily dosage of communication with another human being, even if it had to be carried out through steel and glass.

Scène IV: The Waste Land

Mari’s undisturbed crown still glitters in its glass case. The daughter’s blood has now dried up. Safely she rests in her own case. The dark folds of satin gracefully caress her rotting flesh, warmed by the heat of a tropical sun, it gently falls off her bones, and delicately the maggots chew and digest it. While a man sits and waits in another box, encased by concrete, steel and glass, longing for the unattainable, yearns to feel the arms of his beloved’s corpse lovingly wrapped around him. A modern Romeo unfulfilled. [Y gracias a Dios que T.S. Eliot ya había dicho que abril es el mes más cruel del año: And I was frightened. He said, Marie, / Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.]

Épilogue: The Anger

But, don’t you know the story’s plot? Don’t you know? What are you waiting for? You are destined to be with your Juliet. You have already shown us enough of your love. Do it… now.

 

Written in:

iowa city, iowa, summer 1998

Published in Metropolitan Fantasies, Concordia University: Crítica Canadiense Literaria Sobre Escritoras Hispanoamericanas /Colección Cotidianas de Estival (2002). Pages 9-13.

2 Comments

  1. Loved it!! The parallels between the real people and Romeo and Juliet and the boxes in scene IV. The epilogue is very powerful it seems to emanate the anger felt by the writer.

    • Thank you, Gabrielle! I wrote this poem while at the Iowa University Summer Writer’s Festival in the late 90’s. I partly re-discovered my creative voice there after many years of graduate school where I had to write literary criticism.
      One afternoon I was alone in my dorm room and the poem came to me all at once. The ending surprised me too. I didn’t realize I was in pain and had a lot of anger inside of me because of this terrible event. I used to cry when I read this poem aloud, but the process helped me wash some of the pain out of me.

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