In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne

Out-Tissoted

Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

Close
Close

Suitcases

Piled in the corner of a second-hand store
in Toronto: of course
it’s an immigrant country. Sometimes

all you can take is what you can carry
when you run: a photo, some clothes,
and the useless dead-weight

of your mother-tongue.
One was repaired
with electrician’s tape – a trade

was all a man needed. A girl,
well, a girl could get married. Indeed
each case opened like an invitation: the shell

-pink lining, the knicker-
like pockets you hook back
with a finger to look

for the little linked keys. I remember
how each held a wraith
of stale air, and how the assistant

seemed taken aback by my accent;
by then, though, I was headed for home.
I was bored, and already pregnant.

Pioneers

It’s not long ago. There were,
after all, cameras
to show us these wagons and blurred dogs,
this pox of burnt stump-holes
in a clearing. Pioneers;
their remains now strewn
across the small town
museums of Ontario:
the axe and plough, the grindstone,
the wife leaning by the cabin door
dead, and another sent for.

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