The Remorse of Herod

By Vicky Lettmann

Indeed he was a prophet                     (John) yet

we’ve heard enough                             of those disruptive voices

besides all the inky tattoos                 bleeding blue

and the nose ring didn’t                      make him look like one of us.

But my God what a way                      to end a party.

It had all started out fine                    with my new wife,

oh so beautiful,                                     if only she hadn’t insisted on bringing

her bratty daughter                             who I must say looked rather stunning


under the starlight and the dance, yes,                       the dance made me

forget that I was an old man                                         who must have thought

himself a king                                                                  and I had been one it is true.

But that night with too much                                       music and too much wine


when she asked me                            the question that

is when I said it                                   and this is why

I sit here in this                                   chair once a throne

with a hangover                                  and a head on a plate.



Vicky Lettmann’s writing has appeared in Twenty-six Minnesota Writers and Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude. She has also published a poetry collection, The Beach. She is the coeditor of the anthology When Last on the Mountain: The View from Writers over 50. Her chapbook, What Can Be Saved, is forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks. More information is available at her website:

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