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

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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