In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

Piketty’s Revolution

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

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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