Elizabeth Knapp: “After the Flood”


Something had changed in those who had

witnessed it, so that when they opened

their front doors, squinting into the light,

what had once been a concrete sprawl

appeared to them as the oceans of heaven,

crests glinting in the late afternoon sun,

as the hum of motorboats ruptured

the silence, goldbeaters on the water’s skin.

No one remembered the days leading up

to it—how the birds grew strangely quiet,

how the horses crossed the sudden fields

as if spooked by their own shadow, how

everyone went on about their business

behind the wheel in the kingdom of God.

Elizabeth Knapp is the author of The Spite House (C&R Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 De Novo Poetry Prize. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in 32 PoemsBeloit Poetry JournalKenyon ReviewQuarterly West, and River Styx, among others. She teaches at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.

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