Eoghan Walls

Osiris and the Prague Flood

Watching the fertile but flat and watery landscape passing –

I thought of how we had laughed bewildered as teenagers

returning from a night of wine with Christians – at how

they could smile at us but know us damned forever –

in a river of fire with pagans forever mute to God –

and now that my relationship had ended – the bad sex

and the lack of sex – the meals where both of us wished

to be sat at other tables – eat from lives not yet our own –


and coming to see you had been a part of that – escape –

not seen since I’d left with two Czech girls – they camped

with me beside a river – past tragic tussles in a two man tent –

but meeting you in Pizza Ovenecka – with your young wife –

so beautiful and new and Catholic – and you with God

now finally – the wine tasted wrong or odd and we knew –

something was amiss – was it the weather of those days –

or would the blood of Christ be stale till I had left you –


and the television showed the national signs of this unrest –

the flood was moving down towards the city – small towns

allowed their banks to break to stop the flow – it did not stop –

old women lifted by helicopter from the roofs of houses –

men boating down the streets they’d always lived in –

and the bars we went to in the pauses – leaving your wife

to wrap up blankets for the council – were empty –

and my book of poems was nearly empty – and our talk –


as the city filled to the brim with water – overspill –

in the darkness on the Charles Bridge – jazz bands replaced

by rain and the flash of sirens – the stories – the elephant

shot in his cage – the overwash of buried chemicals – the priest

who stood and said his mass despite the kneehigh depth of water –

the ten-thousand-dollar chair swept from the gallery

like so much jetsam – the seal that left the zoo – escaped –

to end up poisoned when the Voltova became the Elba –


how silt would end up thick across the cobbles – the stains

on buildings – the cars now washed away – the grubby silence

that would haunt the city – and as we stood in darkness –

sharing an umbrella with your sister – I knew I could not

place my hand on hers – thinking of Osiris far from home –

watching the flooding of the Nile without his penis –

and you looking at me through the rain – as if all my teeth

had fallen out – and I was calling out for this destruction.




"Osiris and the Prague Flood" is from The Salt Harvest (Seren Books, 2011).