Pavel in profile
his eye at the spy-hole
watches Mrs Beltinska in the bath.
Steam from the spy-hole
rises and unravels in the dark
cold apartment at his back,
where a TV with the sound down
shows the River Vltava
bursting its banks.
And as Prague’s metro floods
and the Mala Strana floods
and the Waldstein Palace floods
and the National Theatre floods
and the Kampa Modern Art Museum floods,
Mrs Beltinska sinks her treasures in the suds.
The first Czech bible (1488) is drowned
in sewage water, but the warm orange glow
from Mrs Beltinska’s bathroom
coming through the spy-hole
gives an odd kind of halo
to Pavel’s head seen from behind.