The Death of Anton Stadler

Hatred didn’t harden –
it flowed to every extremity,
every externality.
To see was to see you,
betrayer of all you begot,
an arrogant sadist who said
he healed just to push in needles.
We didn’t feel ridiculous. Our poverty,
our disgrace, was inexplicable.
We felt what we heard –
that we must have deserved punishment,
that we chose like stupid animals,
that our gratification broke down trust,
somehow.
Less than human, our bitterness
was the only way out.
Everything was your fault –
to say otherwise was to deny the world,
to call it cruel and perverse,
to break ourselves again.
And there was your corpse,
yellowed eyes, pale, pale skin,
a moth singed by the heat of the light.
When I saw the ribs sticking out,
almost bruising the little skin left,
I couldn’t stop crying.

From Wikipedia: “Shortly after 1800 he left his wife and family and moved to the Landstraße where he lived with his mistress, a certain Friederika Kebel. He died of emaciation and was buried on 17 June 1812 on the old Catholic cemetery in Matzleinsdorf.”

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