Marseille

by Emily S. Cooper

He had created a type of 3d paint,
was one of the first things he told us.

As we followed him upstairs to his plant
filled apartment, we decided he was lying.

It wasn’t long until he told us about Mexico;
kidnapped by cartels, held hostage for weeks,

his father and grandfather were mercenaries
in the French Foreign Legion.

He introduced us to his three passport dog,
four French girls and his pal from Belgium.

Everyday there were new visitors, 
the Belgian was the last man in the house.

When we woke up to find him tucking us in
we realised he actually didn’t sleep.

Each night he tried to persuade
a new girl into his bed;

the Germans were more easily led,
the French a severe non.

He spoke French with an American accent,
had the physique of a young Brad Pitt

and described to us in detail 
how he used to build bombs.

We were taught about an old style of torture
while we sat in an empty fountain,

among the graffiti we learned that if
you swallow a button, and pull it back up,

your body evacuates everything south,
north, east and west.

Six months later he called me 
in the middle of the night.

I didn’t pick up, but remembered the paintings
he showed us before we left,

the faces lighting up, leaping out.

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