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

MagnesiumJohn Levett
Close
Close

It might as well be gaslight now
That soughs and pouches through the trees,
Lost pockets of foxed sepia,
The silver, pollen-haunted sneeze
Of sunshine and magnesium
Caught in the filter of her veil,
Uplifted faces drained and dumb,
Each smile a failing chemical
That hovers in the nitrate’s mist
Where moth-like cousins, lunar aunts
In gauze and satin gloves persist
Through acid-eaten radiance.

There will be mustard-gas, morphine,
Candescent flash-backs, shell-burst skies,
Iron lamps whose phutterings sustain
Blown corpses’ phosphorescent sighs,
But in the soft hiss of this flare
Time stops to oxidise his face,
Shakes out behind her carboned stare
Annihilations of white lace,
As light implodes and leaves a husk,
A stiff, wing-collared, dried-up glow
Still holding back the brim of dusk
Where all their shining futures go.

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