Soutine had left Smilovitch, had left Minsk, had left Vilnius.
before Soutine had left Paris, left Céret, had left Paris
before he had left Champigny, slept rough in the forest:
and Slav; trying to avoid his billet simple to Auschwitz.
therefore, even longer before his hematemesis,
chucked up, the ulcer that ruptured, the peritonitis,
agony of a night-time drive, northwards, towards Paris;
of avoiding the Gestapo. Thus, long before Soutine’s
the bobo idyll of Le Bateau-Lavoir, its half-starved artists.
Matisse, radiance of crepe, cancer smarting like a bitch.