Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
This is the season in which the lambs begin
to die, in which the boy in his red and blue plaid
shirt gets down on his wrists and his knees to crawl
into the moorland at night and spread a cross of pumice
on their foreheads, in which he reads to them a hymn
like a freighter burning with a cargo of ripened fruit
because in the morning he will have to kill them.
Because in the morning he will wake to find his father
standing in the hall like a horse with a lamp in its mouth
and he will have to wade into a river with only that silence
in his arms, and he will harm them. Because every year
I watch him stand at the threshold of a season and begin
to call them, to hold the ruined bodies of the dead
with only a dim chord of flame between his lips
and to touch them, to touch them
and to be with them, to touch them
and to sing with them, the way a child
touches everything, with the hand of his murderer.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.