The Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani died in January 1920 of tubercular meningitis, caused by alcoholic excess. The day after, his lover Jeanne Hébuteme killed herself, and the baby she was carrying, by jumping from a fifth floor window in Paris.

If I had never met him
That day at the Académie,
I would not have withstood
Cuffs and dull thumps
In the night. The mornings
Of gruff loving.
The Put-The-Hat-On,
The Take-Your-Hair-Down,
Wear-The-Yellow-Chenille-] umper.
All the arses
He touched with bruise
And sunburn colours,
Pairs of breasts
He stroked soft and deft.
His enormous palette for women.
The mops on swamps
Of vomit marbled with absinthe
And blood from the belly.
I would not be here,
The day after he choked
And fell still,
Five floors between me
And the street,
With our baby romping inside me,
Not knowing her next kick
Will topple me into the air.
Her eight-month-three-week
Weight will suck me quicker
To the ground.