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Julian Barnes

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Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

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In 1348

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Gordon v. O’Connor

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Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

Two PoemsKaren Solie
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Surprised on returning to find the flat
flooded with light. Merciless,
evaporative, even when overcast, and,
as the solstice neared, sanctimonious
in its imperative to productivity.
An expert with his pen-light wondering
how you let it get this bad. That tone.
We were out all day in the clarity
of errors that had multiplied
into reality. Extra weight exposed
by the indignity of seasonal clothes,
and suspicious the promise
of those first fine days wouldn’t be
borne out. Children wept with exhaustion
in the playground past eleven, birds
goaded awake at three. So when the haar
sailed in, flags flying, party in a bag,
and took over the streets, we rejoiced
to see our choices diminish along
with the outlines of what they’d wrought.
Otherwise, not a fucking thing, and we
decided to make a long weekend of it.

In a stone village on a stone coast
I tried to convince the storage heaters
to take our relationship to the next level,
spend some of what they’d put away
on me, the rented flat, its walls
three feet thick, and stone, and two hundred years
older than Canada. What I was
doing there was not to be confused
with doing something. Nor was it
nothing, exactly, and felt necessary,
though hardly a necessity, and so settled
the personal soot of the subjective
over everything. Objects of my attention
made more of me. The sedimentary shore
broke, like the day, into simple shapes,
which are the most difficult
to explain. In brief daylight I’d walk, unless
it rained, then hit the Co-Op at four,
before the working people. Suppers were
less simple than negligent, and under
the duvet I’d ruined with ink, the evening’s
plan turned to Ativan. Panel shows.

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