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

Wormwood

A flight of loose stairs off the street into a high succession
of empty rooms, prolapsed chairs and a memory of women
perfumed with hand-oil and artemisia absinthium:
wormwood to me, and to the sappy Russian sailors, chernobyl.
The scooped-back ballroom gown shows the tell-tale bra-strap:
red, tired, losing its elasticity.
‘Leave it,’ my maths master used to say at a dropped pencil,
‘it can’t fall any further.’ Well, I couldn’t, and neither could she.

Asparagus

Pushing up, hard and fibrous
from the ground, it is said to be
grown for the mouth:
steamed till supple
so the stem is still firm
but with a slight give to gravity.

Each glistening wand has spurs
that swell in bedded layers
to the dark tip – slubbed and imbricate,
tight-set and overlapping round the bud.
In a slather and slide, butter
floods at the bulb-head.

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