Session 21: I Tell the Psychologist about Baba Yaga
I enter the forest full of pines and birch,
the wind more sigh than howl.
A path of bones, a sunlit body,
of laughter-traces & crow-murmurings.
There are wolf-tracks in the dirt.
A skull perched on a post,
its mouth full of iron teeth,
a welcome, a fenced yard.
There she stands,
hands outstretched with a bucket of feed.
Tiny chicken feet balance tiny homes,
they dance to the scatter of falling seed.
Dear Bone Mother, I say,
please let me enter.
She cackles, a bloom of teeth
& blood & body-rattle,
her jaw unhinges,
have you come
of your own free will?
Baba Yaga, mostly made of legs,
swings her body towards me,
so gaunt and wispy
I can hear the almost-rip of her skin.
Her hut, sits on scaly chicken-knees,
a doorknob, full of teeth,
each incisor sharp & jagged.
Before there is blood, I yank
my hand from its metal-chatter.
In her kitchen, she is now
a full-curved figure, platinum hair, a golden crown.
I hear her exhale,
still ragged, still escaping an iron mouth.
I say, I am searching—
for the wolf, the unloved Baba,
the snow-girl left to melt
as her friends looked on.
How do we know what’s passed down?
The wolf mid-snarl,
the shattered beak,
the ladle full of children’s bones.
becomes the house, the land,
the child’s gasp.
Minadora Macheret is a Ph.D. student in Poetry and Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas. She is a Poetry Editor for Devilfish Review. Her work has appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Rogue Agent, Connotation Press, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook, Love Me, Anyway, (Porkbelly Press, 2018). She likes to travel across the country with her beagle, Aki.