In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Two PoemsCharles Simic
Close
Close

Trudging These Roads

What good does it do you
To complain, Charles?
The fates shuffling your cards
Are old and blind.
You may as well look for them
In every nursing home in Tennessee.

One day your car breaks down
Outside some dead mill town
With a couple smokestacks in the rain,
And you trudge past the home
With your gasoline can in hand
Almost brushing against the grey bricks

Just as the oldest one of them
Puts on her rhinestone glasses
To read what the cards have to say
Now that you are soaked wet
And are about to shiver to death,
Except it isn’t your time yet.

Sideshow at Midnight

You’d be better off educating fleas,
Hardening your skull
So it can break rocks,
Than trying to make sense of your life
And everyone else’s,

Like a mitt-reader
Studying someone’s tangled lifeline
In a dimmed-out storefront –
For all the good it ever did to you!
You’d be better off charming snakes,

Making your wife grow a beard,
Teaching yourself to eat light bulbs,
Than brooding over your troubles
Over a bowl of canned soup
And a box of stale Ritz crackers.

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