Blood red rock / Statu Frances assassinu

Purple-yellow, richly rising miniature colossus;
red isle bursting, bathed in wine and fish. Fish for days,
fish for supper. Fir trees arched to horizontal,
blown by lurching sea winds, tugged by the root
but holding fast. Bonaparte’s birthplace, thistles thick as fists,
islet torn apart in recent years: assassination;
two decades behind bars; a taste of freedom. Fish and wine.
Messages sprayed in black on roadside barriers and walls,
threats, perhaps, or warnings—rousse rock abuts the asphalt—
Yvan, Alessandri, Ferrandi. A cat with a wayward eye
sits on a bench, tending to itself while waiting for someone to pass.
Birds clamour while in every direction, even if you can’t see it,
you can feel the roaring sea. Tourists flock to Ajaccio,
arrive by the boatful, necks craned for history, art, damned fish,
while the white stone around them remembers blood:
Prefect Erignac shot three times, dead.
Twelve officers follow; Colonna, killed
by a man from Cameroon, disappears into darkness.
Cries of Statu Frances assassinu heard in Montparnasse.

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