In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Close
Close

A purple-haired woman
with a paper handkerchief for a face
runs down the rue des Messageries.
Between the perspective of buildings
tall crane idle against the lines of morning
and a doleful green lion with navy-blue eyes
tattering down to emerald wraiths
dissipates its body in smoke.
Among the stream of Lubavitchers
this Saturday from the synagogue
comes a half-transparent gesture
with a hand that turns in mid-air
and comes back boldly dark blue.
Feminine ginger forearms
poke from a national marine’s white blouse,
black slacks and sailor boy hat,
red-head squatting on the pavement bollard
where rue Faubourg Poissonières
widens for our supermarket;
could be any teenager’s frail life,
enlisted to right our errors
of despair, aggression, superstition.
Cirrus on blue above.
Matt black fighter plane
dropped in the road by a child
sets its heel on the sparkling tarmac,
the silhouette of it skids about and becomes
curling tyre marks, or a relic of
a dangerous attitude, setting children’s lives
at risk. Our corruption needs copious innocence
to work on: I remember green fields,
a cook crossing to the airmen’s mess
at Innesbrook, cirrus on blue in that vignette.
They could enlist me then; they couldn’t now.
That summer of ’57, like a tornado
in my mind I tell you,
green imploding on black
like a green bomb splotch on the Suez Canal.
In this morning’s sunshine,
a cook crossing now to the boulangerie
triggered that memory. Opening the Trib
two paces down from the Metro,
I see they opened fire on the President of Egypt
yesterday as his motorcade
drove to the Addis Ababa summit.
Nearly caused war with Sudan; young Egyptian
forearms writing out enlistment papers;
one day there’s a youth’s flayed arms but no youth,
green body tattering down in bomb smoke.

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