Miroslav Holub

:

Five minutes after the air raid

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Translated by George Theiner
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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.

Then
she locked up carefully
let someone steal
Sirius
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.

Please note that this translation was later revised, and can be found in Miroslav Holub: Poems Before and After (Bloodaxe Books, 1990), reproduced here by permission of Bloodaxe Books.