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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

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

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 PoemsCharles Simic
Close
Close

It’s a Hot Night

A swarm of half-naked, tattoo-covered bodies
To squeeze through on the sidewalk
With a wary glance at a dagger dripping with blood
And a winged serpent paused to strike.

Young boys are smoking reefers and shooting baskets
In the dark playground. Tipsy old men
Mutter to themselves on park benches
While red roses open at midnight and butterflies flit by.

Each one of them carries a deep meaning
Their owner would be happy to relate.
Don’t bother to ask, just admire
The black widow on the back of a shaved head,

The Grim Reaper riding a pretty girl’s shoulder
As they crowd the entrance of a club
One imagines is packed with even more fantastic creatures,
Swaying to music on the dance floor.

Old Friend

A mother’s voice calling her son home
On this tree-lined, poorly-lit street,
Made me catch a glimpse of someone I thought I knew
Walking ahead of me in a hurry,

Among the shadowy strollers, window-shopping
Or discreetly entering small, dim stores
And exiting them just as surreptitiously,
Where I caught up with a stranger

Carrying a sleepy little boy in his arms
Under the cover of early darkness,
Their eyes grown big with alarm
Seeing my happiness turn into disappointment.

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