In the latest issue:

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

‘The Man in the Red Coat’

Luc Sante

Is it OK to have a child?

Meehan Crist

Short Cuts: Ubu Unchained

August Kleinzahler

Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery

Surplus Sons

Clare Bucknell

Oliver Lee Jackson

Adam Shatz

The Servant Problem

Alison Light

Poem: ‘1 x 30’

Anne Carson

The Old Bailey

Francis FitzGibbon

Jiggers, Rods and Barleycorns

James Vincent

More Marple than Poirot

J. Robert Lennon

On Rachael Allen

Matthew Bevis

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn

The Staffordshire Hoard

Tom Shippey

Blessed Isles

Mary Wellesley

At the Movies: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’

Michael Wood

Redeeming Winnie

Heribert Adam

Diary: A Friendly Fighting Force

Nick McDonell

Two PoemsPaul Farley

The Lapse

When the cutting edge was a sleight, a trick of time,
we blinked our way through Jason and the Argonauts,
thrilled by the stop-motion universe,
its brazen Talos grinding like a Dock Road crane,
and the Hydra’s teeth sown into studio soil
by Harryhausen, who got between the frames
like a man who comes in bone dry from a downpour
by stopping the world and snapping out a path
through glassy rods right up to his front door.

Something as simple as Edgerton’s milk splash
stilled to an ivory coronet would do it,
keep us quiet for hours as we learned to understand
the howling gale we stood in. Chilled to the core
we gasped as Ursula Andress stepped from the flame
and the unseen British-Pathé make-up department
took down her face, applying gravity with a trowel.
And I’d have to say something was taken from us.

On the dead sheep’s seconds-long journey to nothing
with maggots working like a ball of fire,
every now and then a long bone settled awkwardly
like a break in continuity. Like an afternoon
of finding out for ourselves what death smelt like.
Long afternoons. Lying on our backs watching clouds
with the slow Doppler of a plane being bowed across the sky.
Give us back the giant day. Give us back what’s ours.


Split pistols on a woodchip wall a decade,
faked alloys, brandished, facing one another
above a brick fireplace (another bullshitter –

ersatz and cold). These two bisected bastards
were only half there, but they stared me down.
The horse brasses and Spanish fans were harmless

but guns form in the womb. If my dad was out,
bored, I’d take up arms and clasp each half
together, then I’d pick a photograph

along the mantelpiece, and draw a bead
between the eyes of some ancestral second;
or (this was harder) turn the pistol on

myself. I’d hold its shape along the midline
by sucking the muzzle – it tasted of television –
and use my thumbs to blow my fucking brains out.

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