In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

CrystalMark Pajak

Last orders. I put my cloth to a misty wineglass
and twist the shine in like a lightbulb.

At the end of my bar, a girl. Maybe twenty.
Her back turned on her pint, and a man’s hand

spilling a powder. A hiss from an envelope
like a slow fuse. Her lager’s fine chains of fizz

suddenly shake until all the liquid is the white tail
of a rattlesnake. But it’s late. So I hold up

the wineglass. Fill it with the bar’s dirty light.
Hang it on the rack where it slides to snap

against the bowl of another. That chime;
the sound of glass almost breaking. I slowly

twist and hang, twist and hang, with such
crystal concentration I nearly don’t notice

when she finally stands to leave. Her spine wags
and is steadied by a man’s hand. The last wineglass

is hung. Upside down, they are a line of bells
without tongues. Clear now. When she turns

her face on his shoulder, she is younger than
eighteen. They leave behind her pint glass.

A last dreg. A spray of white. Asking to be
washed and polished and held up to the light.

Send Letters To:

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

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