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

Others look down on me. As well they might.
I look down on myself from a great height:
see the tramp’s straggly hair turned white

– the off-white of effluent-polluted sea-foam –
the bony shoulders, the incipient bald dome
and black wings sprouting that will fly me home.

for Rachel Owen

1.

I keep forgetting if this is
Lucerne or Geneva, Geneva or Lucerne.
But there’s a lake almost too close
like a slab of black marble.
Every hour a ferry slides over and erases
its lucid inscriptions.

2.

In Tarragona you can swim a few strides
from the port road – it looks clean enough
to drown in, but it takes a bloody cliff
to reach the Rambla Vella and the Roman ruins.
I opt for a dip in the drink.
Why scale the heights when you can fight the waves?

3.

Free passage to Cagliari, that’s if
I can speak about the First World War
poets. I speak too much. Break of day,
a trench for sewage pipes is being dug
outside the hotel window. Hard hats are
placidly conferring. A Phoenecian frigate in the port.

4.

The interminable cave through the Karst
– the White War fought in the near distance –
is home to the blind salamander and the devil bat.
They say Dante in exile visited and first
dreamed up hell down here – they forget
he spent his youth in Florence.

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