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Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: ‘Parallel Lives’

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

Follow the Science

James Butler

Black DogJohn Stammers
Close
Close

From the interior night of the unconscionably tall, arched doorway,
the shadows commence a faint unnerving undulation;
they wear an awful sheen, as if the shade has been interminably brushed
after being treated in some scenty new conditioner.
The aperture takes on shape: the hard sway of a long, high neck,
and the absurd tiny slope of what, in another creature,
might have been its shoulders.
                   Black Dog,
some animal trader’s corrupt attempt at a half-understood Swahili term;
his name is inked into him like a torturer’s signature mark.
The single specimen ever found, a male giraffe
black as the whitest sunlight, blacker
than the white crocuses in the ornamental flower-beds,
or the ultra-white of the open-eyed woman’s white crêpe blouse.
It is merely a matter of waiting and everything happens:
the chimpanzees write Titus Andronicus on their toy typewriters;
the sea-lions bring down a gazelle;
the eels walk on two legs to the north gate and go home.
I feel a sensation of overwhelming disgust.
I make myself turn and leave the side of the enclosure.

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