In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

Close
Close

The saxophonist winds up ‘My Romance’,
the song with a scar. In the red lacquer ceiling,
the night’s raw throat, I can just make out
lampshades the colour of a smoker’s breath.
One is at our table. Across sits a woman
in tiny furs from before the war, the mouth
of one gnawing on the tail of the other,
like comets. A sudden brightness on stage,
a flaring spot, flashes on the nodding brass.
The little thud at a nova’s heart predicts
the gradual, dimming ebb and flow
of light – or love – soon enough burnt out,
remembered only as desire’s afterglow.
So which one has the room key? Neither of us
wants to guess what won’t ever be opened.
Something is found in a galactic pocket.
Something is left behind on a chair.
The elevator doors close soundlessly.
A constellation of numbers rises in order.
Again, the argument from design’s invoked.
Tomorrow we’ll get to go back over it all,
what’s partially false and almost always true,
as in: ‘My romance doesn’t need a thing but you.’

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