If you believe that deaths do come in threes
and that we are maskers in some Greek play
then I am deathless, immortal to disease.

No foe’s hand can spill my blood nor make me pay
the infinite cost of my one own life;
it must be by my hand: no other way.

Mother and grandmother both fell on their own knife
and someday the three will demand their third.
Must I then obey? make a widow of my wife?

A violent but inviolable word
plunges my life toward fatalistic crime–
an apostasy, a man self-murdered.

My joys, like hunted things, measure out their time
as this tragic poem awaits its final rhyme.

The Suicide of Lucretia: detail. Meester met de Papegaai (1525)