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

DoncasterTony Harrison

I’ve noticed Donny’s bridal gownshop’s lights
are only on, in winter, Saturday nights.
Though window shopping for white wedding gear
’s not done this coldest, darkest time of year,
maybe, the owner reckons, as they pass
those near-nude girls, reflected in the glass,
might remember his window’s lacy white,
if they get pregnant from their date tonight.

In Donny at the Danum all alone
hearing the coal trucks on the railway line,
the pit to power station wagons beat
a metre as my eye moves down to Sweet
on the menu that I’ve studied countless times,
my head on coal-trucks and on coupled rhymes,
and, there, added in purple print, I find
a mouthful of assonance to tempt my mind,
but not my tastebuds, knowing that only
the leisurely, the literary, or the lonely
or some passing, half-pissed plaiting of all three,
Saturday in Donny, and tonight that’s me,
notice, of all things in the hopping town
with disco birds and desolate bridal gown,
the Union flag garrotting the flagstaff,
cracking crosses over girl gangs, frozen stiff,
but cackling and cramming the jam-packed pub
or past the bouncers to the throbbing club,
with midriffs, thighs and shoulders, bare and blue,

or Chef’s Special: melon balls in Malibu.

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