In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

Man in SpaceCharles Boyle
Close
Close

No, I said, the title wasn’t sexist,
I was thinking about the Russian cosmonauts
who were stuck in orbit, and how they hooked up a British princess
and an interpreter
and got them to make polite conversation.

Then there was Daniel, who wanted a child
but whose girlfriend didn’t.
After five years of precautions
he began sleeping with another woman.

The night he told me she was pregnant
and that he didn’t love her, he told me also
his recurring dream: he’s tobogganing
down this hill he remembers, it was called the Death Trap –
near the bottom you had to make a sharp turn
and steer through a gate, if you failed
you smashed into a fence.

Now he’s gathering speed, going faster and faster ...
And suddenly there’s nothing there, just snow
upon snow upon snow.

I poured us another glass. And the child too, I told him,
like an illegal immigrant, stowed away
in darkness, among the crates of Old World cheeses
and bits of machinery, en route to the promised land.
You have to make that arrival good.

He said it’s not like that, it’s all refrigerated
containers. We argued
about the transport of whisky, and about the girls of America.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences