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Wang Xiuying

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Luc Sante

Is it OK to have a child?

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Bury that bastard

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Surplus Sons

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Poem: ‘1 x 30’

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The Old Bailey

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More Marple than Poirot

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On Rachael Allen

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Like a Ball of Fire

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The Staffordshire Hoard

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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

KingdomDon Coles
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Around six, six-thirty these late winter days
I’m usually walking home across Lawrence fields,
couple of blocks from here. Make a point
of checking on the rink, the afternoon hockey guys
finished now and the last light fading off it,
though you can easily spot the gone-silent
sprayed brakings and prodigal wheelings incised
on the glow. I like it best when the Zamboni’s
out there doing its ignored choreography,
blue lights glittering and the kid’s dark head
turning to neither one side nor the other, just
intent on getting it right. Around one end and
up the middle and peel off, down the side
and up the pure broadening middle again,
lights glittering, kid’s silhouette watching ahead.
He must like this. Nobody else around,
no older guy to shout advice or start anything.
A one-handed spin on the wheel takes him down
the far side. All along the streets the skaters
are at supper, they’ve abandoned their small
crisscrossing calls, terse celebrations, all
those rasping swiftnesses in exchange for their
ampler lives, and what’s left is this,
slow dance of blue light in a darkening
space. He’s going around the last bend
now. I head off. The perfect thing’s
just about ready again.

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