In the latest issue:

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

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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