Patrica was 20 when Albert
Took her in his arms and they danced.
In 1945, Bidasse and Mandarine were born.
Comic children of a comic-less time.
Patricia was not their mother,
Nor was Maria Casarès, Spanish passion.
It was Francine.
Francine, who could not offer Chinatown and foxtrots,
two suicide attempts.
Was it his fault
that he couldn’t resist a smile?
that he needed his freedom?
that he was never made for marriage?*
hair still clotted with vomit looking up from her hospital bed as the man she had given all her unwarranted love looks down paternally a young woman shouts:
yes yes it is your fucking fault
*These three lines are a literal translation from page 40 of Le Figaro’s hors-série on Albert Camus, December 2009 and were the point of departure for this poem.