In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

Piketty’s Revolution

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

The LettuceMaurice Riordan
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I gave the barrow-girl two quid for it,
a frisée lettuce, a wild intricate wheel,
nature’s very own bright-green mandala.
A lot of money but I paid up gladly,
even though at that time, anxious and overtired,
I parted most weeks from something: my bike
hitched to a loose strut; then gloves, umbrella,
wallet, cards, glasses – all left on the train.
I came to think of it as tribute: a mean,
but bearable, percentage exacted by
my personal Luck-god, who’d bring us through
that winter, and the next. So I paid up,
grateful to reach my own front door,
to enter a house at peace and register
that palpable all’s well, before I swopped
briefcase and shopping for two small bodies,
I rebuke him now only for that one green
Mediterranean thing departing from me,
days before Christmas, for the Kent coast.

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