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

They used to come out at night
and leave on the hairy carpet
a diagram of their moves,
dance-steps, perhaps loves –
like a record of the moon’s light
peeled off the sea, to frame
in the honeymoon album.

One gastropod put its foot
by mistake on the Welcome mat,
such painful terrain to cross
it was still there at sunrise
like a long turd, the fruit
of some wall-passing intruder
who hadn’t woken the cat.

For a few days this autumn
black slugs from the garden path
have even been climbing the cool
white cliffs of the daily bottle
at the front door: my thumb
just manages to stop
crushing them on the silver cap.

Mysterious visitors whom
my mother taught us to trap,
sending us lists of the dead
(one day over two hundred),
I have begun to warm
to you: raising the bottle to my lips
I drink, from your glass slipper.

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