In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane

Tativille

David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

Close
Close

Gusting across, not waiting

for the lights, just one more
loose end of the working day

leaking home through the cracks
in the traffic, at six

already dark ... Across, between
a humped WIMPY-jacketed back

hugging two carrier-bags
from the off-licence,

and a shock mascara’d
teenage mum gone grey

in my headlights
(her buggy-bound astronaut

bumping down
to the breath of exhaust on his cheek) ...

Across, not looking left or right
between the neon CHRIST

IS THE ANSWER on the shut
shop of the chapel

and the Asian minimarket
(the whole family gathered in

round the freezer, disputing,
their faces lit upwards

in Christmas-card glow) ...
Ghosting across, between

my bumper and the brakelights
of a transit van, not an arm’s reach away

and turning for a moment,
square on and not seeing,

it was you –
pale puffed and bulky

as if flickered up
by my dipped beam out of focus.

I was glad to see you cast a shadow.

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