Poems of the Week

They Say

by J.P. Celia

“Let them eat cake.”
Marie Antoinette

(For Bastille Day, July 14)

They say you rode the open cart
As fits a queen,
With grace, despite the crowd who roared,
“La guillotine!”

A priest had been assigned, they say,
To comfort you,
Whom you regarded like a cheese
More green than bleu.

You stepped, they say, by accident
Upon the toes
Of he whose job it was to kill
The people’s foes.

“Excuse me, sir,” they say you said,
And I know why:
You were a lady, even when
Condemned to die.

That crass remark about the cake
(Brioche? Souffle?)
Was slander, and a gross untruth.
Or so they say.