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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

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Close
Close

My parcel was delivered to the college
Thoroughly packaged, like an only child ...
I tear my father’s beautifully-written note
(Please acknowledge receipt, Love Mum & Dad)
Then fold the wrapping for possible re-use.
A breeze laps the posters crusting the wall;
Like lily pads, they compete to face the light.

I bump into Philip inside the Lodge.
He asks to see the gift – another four-sleeved
Pullover! Raising it shoulder-high, he
Teases me about the additional arms
Till I make my excuses and leave him
At the pigeonholes to scurry to my room.

I lay the jumper on my coverlet
And step back to survey the lively design –
Summery shades of green and blue in bars
A centimetre wide around the middle;
And seagulls, too. Trying it on before
My full-length mirror, I turn in circles like
A weather-vane. The sleeves rotate with me!

Dizzier than Lewis Carroll’s Alice, I
Finish instead an essay due at six ...
My sides itch as I write. Just below the ribs,
Above my pelvis, carpal bones, knuckles,
And ten fingernails push through the flesh like roots.
Should I telephone home, or should I wait?

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