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

KingdomDon Coles

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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