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

Close
Close

When I found I’d lost you –
not beside me, nor ahead,
nor right nor left not
your green jacket moving

between the trees anywhere,
I waited a long while
before wandering on: no wren
jinked in the undergrowth,

not a twig snapped.
It was hardly the Wildwood,
just some auld fairmer’s
shelter belt, but red haws

reached out to me,
and between fallen leaves
pretty white flowers bloomed
late into their year. I tried

calling out, or think
I did, but your name
shrivelled on my tongue,
so instead I strolled on

through the wood’s good
offices, and duly fell
to wondering if I hadn’t
just made it all up: you,

I mean, everything,
my entire life . . . either way,
nothing now could touch me
bar my hosts, who appeared

as diffuse golden light,
as tiny spiders
examining my hair . . .
what gratitude I felt then –

I might be gone for ages,
maybe seven years!
– and such sudden joie de vivre
that when a ditch gaped

right there instantly in front of me
I jumped it, blithe as a girl –
ach, I jumped clear over it,
without even pausing to think.

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