In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

Laughing GasStephen Knight
Close
Close

        I am timing the Fire Doors for something to do;
    They swing alarmingly! Since the Management reduced
Our use of electricity I walk the corridors
        Trailing my fingertips the length of the wall.

        I think of adjectives to sum this building up:
    Warrenous, respectable, and windowless. When you
Talk to me I watch the movement of your lungs, the ripple
        Of the fibres of your mohair pullover.

        The mannerisms of our six close friends become
    As obvious as eyes: they fidget and tick like clocks.
You study their hands, their irritable hands. And I, I
        Make a note of everything you say and do.

        The time you spend on make-up is a blessing – your
    Dead white cheeks are as good as light and heat to guide me
Down the corridors! Concrete dust is rising from the floors
        Like fire; when it reaches the lips it mixes

        With our exhalations. Temporarily, I
    Believe in ghosts. Don’t tell me that you don’t! Yesterday
Your drawing-pad was open at a charcoal face, wincing
        With a silly grin for want of oxygen.

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