In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

A Family JokeMichael Laskey
Close
Close

Just her superstition – never
to watch a guest pass out of sight.
There we’d be all waving together
till the last moment when she’d turn

and dash indoors. Not that it dawned on us
for years – she was just our mother –
but rumbling her we were unanimous:
nonsense like that had to stop.

So we’d encourage her, slip our arms
around her shoulders and then hold her
more firmly the more she squirmed;
and she’d be laughing, but wouldn’t look.

And still won’t. We watch her duck
inside the porch as we drive away,
don’t scoff so much at the bad luck
she wouldn’t risk bringing down on us.

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