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The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

‘The Man in the Red Coat’

Luc Sante

Is it OK to have a child?

Meehan Crist

Short Cuts: Ubu Unchained

August Kleinzahler

Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery

Surplus Sons

Clare Bucknell

Oliver Lee Jackson

Adam Shatz

The Servant Problem

Alison Light

Poem: ‘1 x 30’

Anne Carson

The Old Bailey

Francis FitzGibbon

Jiggers, Rods and Barleycorns

James Vincent

More Marple than Poirot

J. Robert Lennon

On Rachael Allen

Matthew Bevis

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn

The Staffordshire Hoard

Tom Shippey

Blessed Isles

Mary Wellesley

At the Movies: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’

Michael Wood

Redeeming Winnie

Heribert Adam

Diary: A Friendly Fighting Force

Nick McDonell

Early RiversRuth Fainlight
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This jar of rosy-purple jam is labelled
Early Rivers, August ’82 –
the date I made it, the name the farmer gave
those plums, smooth as onyx eggs, but warmer.

The dimpled groove, bloom-dusted, down each fuit
pouted at the touch of my knife, yielding
the stone I put inside a cotton sock
(relict of a worn-out pair – every
boiling dyed it darker crimson – from one
plum-season to the next I saved it) then pushed
the lumpy tied-up bag into the centre of
the pulpy amber halves and melting sugar
in the preserving kettle, and let the mixture
ooze its pectins, odours, juices, flavours,

until the chemistry of time and fire
produced this sharpness, sweetness, that I’m eating
now, straight from the jar, smearing my mouth,
digging the spoon in deeper, seeking a taste
undiluted even by nostalgia.

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