“Five minutes after the air raid” by Miroslav Holub

In Pilsen,

twenty-six Station Road,

she climbed to the third floor

up stairs which were all that was left

of the whole house,

she opened her door

full on to the sky,

stood gaping over the edge.

For this was the place

the world ended.


she looked up carefully

lest someone steal


or Aldebaran

from her kitchen,

went back downstairs and settled herself

to wait

for the house to rise again

and for her husband to rise from the ashes

and for her children’s hands and feet to be stuck back in place.

In the morning they found her

still as stone,

sparrows pecking her hands.

Translated from the Czech by George Theiner

About Eddie Playfair

I am a Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC) having previously been a college principal for 16 years and a teacher before that. I live in East London and I blog in a personal capacity about education and culture. I also tweet at @eddieplayfair
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