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


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

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Two PoemsPolly Clark

Farewell My Lovely

A really good detective never gets married.
Raymond Chandler

I’d gotten used to that roomy grin,
the face like a bag of facts,
the flank round as a pony’s,
and the way she had of blending in
so badly. But after all,
I didn’t really know her,
neither she nor I being the intimate type.

          I take a slug of something
that I’ve been craving, make a note
of everything that’s gone with her.
But my notes become a list
of immovables: this slouching house,
the sea with a face I’d like to smack,
the loosening sky, fit to drop –

          as I’m dusting the mirror
I glimpse her, smart as a rat
in the company of rocks –
but the day’s slammed shut
and it’s time to file the file.
This is a face to be turned over
for answers from now on.

She’s left nothing behind her
to show what was between us.
Always meticulous,
          I find she’s slipped
like a last dram into my dreams,
hunched at the scene, wiping fingerprints,
knowing that it’s over, that it’s time to go.


I hear perfectly: the thud
onto linen, the strange gasp
like the cry of a premature baby,
just once and then silence.

And I see perfectly:
how my lashes scratch the light,
a hair glittering in shadow,
the winded hollow

where my lips rest.
I still have all my words.
I move my mouth,
like someone begging for water.

Fingers grab my hair
and I soar high above my sad
old body, slumped and tiny.
Tears of pity for it fill my eyes.

They are tending it,
the blank women in blue.
They are washing it,
as if they loved it.

Look, the people are cheering me,
look, they are glad to see me,
now that I’ve been removed
without a single word of protest.

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