In the latest issue:

The World Goes Bust

Adam Tooze

A nice girl like Simone

Joanna Biggs

The Arrestables

Jeremy Harding

Short Cuts: Built from Light

Daniel Soar

‘Cleanness’

Edmund Gordon

The Ghent Altarpiece

Julian Bell

You can’t prove I meant X

Clare Bucknell

At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard

Conrad Jumps Ship

Fredric Jameson

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Poem: ‘Mayfly’

Fiona Benson

Follow the Science

James Butler

Diary: #coronasomnia

Wang Xiuying

A Small KingdomDevin Johnston
Close
Close
Vol. 39 No. 3 · 2 February 2017
Poem

A Small Kingdom

Devin Johnston

174 words

Come on, let’s start, there’s work to be done,
constructing battlements from wooden blocks
and a castle keep from cardboard.
I play my part, a supporting role
building road across the carpet,
its wool obscured by a cloud of dust,
elephants on the march,
their buttery plastic almost edible.
These are the Alps, and this the col,
a fold in the quilt from which a wolf
howls and hurls its paper rocks
down on dinosaurs and mammals,
a phalanx of anachronisms
borne of circumstance and whim.

I play my part with half a mind,
ironies and violence held at bay,
until the phone rings: an old friend
whose wife has finally tossed him out
needs help moving, boxes by the curb.
I’ve been there, and recommend
a furnished room a few blocks distant.

Come back, let’s play! This is a harbour town,
and on its wharf, a whittled ship
outward bound with a load of apples.
I once lived here, but now I wait
for a chance to slip away.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences