“Casanova Prepares for a Duel, May 5, 1766,” by Michael Garriga

Nov 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Prose

Tell me why, O Lord, why I had to scurry and scramble escaping that Venetian prison to come all the way to Poland-Poland!-to be murdered by a lifelong knight, the Grand Butler to the Crown, Count Colonel Franciszek Ksawery Branicki, a name that sounds like a child’s careless scribbling?  A man who has wounded his enemies without anger or discourtesy and killed others without hating them.  I am jangled; the tobacco is spilling from out my pipe.  Steady my shaking hand, Lord, I beg you.  I couldn’t even hold my pen this afternoon to write my final will, had to, instead, spend my last hours dictating to a semi-illiterate sycophant instead of his sister.  In the offing I see the blood burst from my body, burst and freckle the clean Warsaw snow, smoke rising from my belly wound: I’ve never even fired a pistol; I’m a swordsman! 


Michael Garriga is a PhD candidate in Florida State University’s creative writing program, where he serves as co-editor of The Southeast Review.  He’s published work in The Black Warrior Review, Poetry Southeast, and Versus: An Anthology.

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