In the latest issue:

Democracy? No thanks

Eric Foner

The Bournemouth Set

Andrew O’Hagan

Short Cuts: How to Block Spike

Rupert Beale

Poem: ‘Lark’

Anne Carson

Mussolini’s Unrealism

Edward Luttwak

Characteristically Spenderish

Seamus Perry

Waiting for Valéry

Michael Wood

Bilingualism

Michael Hofmann

The Case for a Supreme Court

Stephen Sedley

A Great Wall to Batter Down

Adom Getachew

At Las Pozas: Edward James’s Sculpture Garden

Mike Jay

He’s Humbert, I’m Dolores

Emily Witt

Archigram’s Ghost

Jonathan Meades

‘Love at Last Sight’

Chloë Daniel

Instapoetry

Clare Bucknell

Scotland’s Dreaming

Rory Scothorne

Diary: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps

Iain Sinclair

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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