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

UnderworldJorie Graham
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After great rain. Gradually you are revealing yourself to me. The lesson carves
                     a tunnel through
an occupied territory. Great beaches come into existence, are laved for centuries, small
                     play where the castles are
built, the water carried up for moats, the buckets lost at the end of the exciting
                     day, then even the dunes go under, it takes a long while but then
                     they are gone
altogether, ocean takes the place, as today where the overpass revealed the fields gone
                     under &, just at the surface of the water, the long
miles of barbed wire, twice-there, the ones below (of water) trembling, the fence-posts’
                     small fixed pupils staring up
                     every fifty feet
at the sky, glittering, their replicas shivering, the spines of grasses gnawed-at by the sick
                     human eye, when will we open them
again our eyes, this must all be from the world of shut eyes, one’s temples feel
                     the cold, maybe one is
                     inside a sea shell, one is what
                     another force
is hearing – how lovely, we are being handed over to an other force, listen, put
                     this to your ear – the last river we know loses its
form, widens, as if a foot were lifted from the dancefloor but not put down again, ever,
                     so that it’s not a
dance-step, no, more like an amputation where the step just disappears, midair, although
                     also the rest of the body is
missing, beware of your past, there is a fiery apple in the orchard, the coal in the under-
                     ground is bursting with
                     sunlight, inquire no further it says,
it wishes it were a root, a bulb, a closed fist – look how it fills
                     with meaning when
opened – then when extended – let us not
                     go there – broken, broken – no to the imagination of some great
                     murmuring through the soil as through the souls of
                     all men –
silent agreement which is actually the true soil – but there it is now going under – nothing
                     will grow in it – the footsteps are washed away which might
have attempted kindness or cultivation or a walk over the earth to
                     undertake
curiosity – that was our true gift to creation: curiosity – how we would
                     dream eyes closed in fog all through the
storm, then open up to aftermath, run out to see – & then of course too much, too
                     much – too much wanting to know – sorry I did not
                     mean to raise my voice – I will turn
no further – you are making yourself punishable says the flood – I will
                     drink it, I will, my God gave
it me says the evaporation sluicing the invisible surfaces,
                     in which clouds are being
said, right into the shuddering of time, its so called passing – each land
                     had its time for being
born, each date a cage shrinking – until the creature has ribs that bend-in and a skull that is
                     forced
into its heart, & the rain is falling chattering pearling completely turning-in, turning, lost,
                     & all the words that might have held it, it now
                     flows through,
& the rim of the meaning crumbles – & it is the new world you wanted – & it is beginning
                     its life now.

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