Spring 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 2 Poetry |

After the Flood

After the water settled, once we could see the tree roots again, after the crow and the blackbird disappeared, the seagull too, after the animals had fled, shrieking and whooping, that’s when it happened. We hadn’t strayed far from the Ark, that stinking box, everyone said we should strike out for home, but no one showed signs of leaving. At first we could only hear the burr. Then someone saw it. Shouted. A pestilence in the skies. What now? A swarm of locusts? They poured down. Angels, all shapes and sizes: some with two wings, some with six, some with bodies made of sound, others whose voices rang like war. We thought it was the end of the world again. Some hid. Some fled. Some picked up rocks. Some prayed. The angels circled us like prey. God, the noise. Their wings sliced air. They hated each other, you could see it from the way they jostled. They hated us more. The ones with teeth licked them. Where’s your food? one of them shouted. We gave them

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Photo of Pádraig Ó Tuama

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet from Ireland with interests in conflict, religion, and language. His most recent collection is Feed the Beast (Broken Sleep Books, 2022). He presents the podcast Poetry Unbound from On Being Studios, from which Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World (Canongate and  W.W. Norton, 2022) comes. His work has been published in Harvard Review, Poetry Ireland, Poem-a-Day, and many other places.

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