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

Close
Close

January 12, 1996

He would have been a hundred today, my father,
So I write to him in the trenches and describe
How he lifts with tongs from the brazier an ember
And in its glow reads my words and sets them aside.

The Mustard Tin

You are dying and not sleeping soundly because
Your eyes stay open and it doesn’t seem to hurt.
We want you to blink and find three of us standing
For a few seconds between you and the darkness.

Your mouth has opened so wide you appear to scream.
We will need something to close your terrible yawn.
I hoke around in my childhood for objects without
Sharp edges and recover the oval mustard tin.

A daughter strokes your forehead and says: ‘There. There.’
A daughter holds your hand and says: ‘I’m sorry.’
I focus on the mustard tin propping your jaw,
On the total absence of the oval mustard tin.

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