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

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Close
Close

Father will be pompous but a good soul,
Mother will have her pan and grey hair
and get him out of scrapes. No he wasn’t
touching up that girl, IT WAS REALLY
a case of crossed wires! No he wasn’t
good at cooking but he did try hard.

It will last half-an-hour on empty nights.
For the rest, two white heads on parapets.
Mother will have her pan. A son and daughter
will know what we know, more than Father knows:
he’s touching her again! Here comes Mother
with crippled hands and her vague wishing look.

She takes time off from the washing-up,
to get him out of scrapes and into hobbies.
With five minutes to go he tries harder,
peoples the house with other puzzled men
in twos and threes. Who’s knocking at the door?
A man with Mother’s pan and her grey hair

on a plate of his. Son and daughter gone;
it gets funnier, the house will be brought down.
Churchmen come in gloves and solve a crime
that Father did, a killing, IT WAS REALLY
a case of crossed wires! No he wasn’t
funny but he did have the last line.

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