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

There was a scramble for mementos when the road
across the border was smashed up, and there was no
way in or out of this province of great lakes
and mountains. High on a terraced garden,
where potatoes and carrots have begun to replace blooms,
a broken cat’s-eye lies in its hand-sized
block of rusted iron, and blinks at the house lights
every night unseen. Close up, it’s like a toad
with ivory leather skin, run over countless times
but each time shrugging back into its shape,
with eyes in the back of its head, two deep sockets
facing either way and only one glass marble
left for each direction. Who will explain this
when the cars have been melted, when all roads
are rocky paths and scree slopes, when silent boats
cross lakes at night by moonlight only? Imagine
two old friends in darkness years from now,
snaking up the garden steps with an ancient
petrol lighter, to try to trick the cat’s-eye into waking.

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