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


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

My FuchsiaRuth Fainlight

My fuchsia is a middle-aged woman
who’s had fourteen children, and though
she could do it again, she’s rather tired.

All through the summer, new blooms.
I’m amazed. Yet the purple and crimson
have paled. Some leaves are yellowed or withering.

The new buds look weaker and smaller,
like menopause babies. But still
she’s a gallant fine creature performing her function.

– That’s how they talk about women,
and I heard myself using the same sort of language.
Then I understood my love for August:
its exhausted fertility
after glut and harvest.

Out in the garden, playing
at being a peasant forced
to slave until dark with a child on my back

another at the breast and probably
pregnant, I remember
wondering if I’d ever manage

the rites of passage from girl
to woman: fear
and fascination hard to choose between.

Thirty years later, I pick the crumpled flowers
off the fuchsia plant and water it
as if before the shrine
of two unknown grandmothers –
and my mother, who was a fourteenth child.

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