Baba Yaga

An old woman who
Sweats crows
And lives in a barrow
Raised from the bones
Of forgotten children.
Neither the candles,
Nor her pewter cups
Nor the greased
Soles of her sandals
Can bear the sight of her
And flee to the fringes
Of her field of vision.

Each morning at her toilet,
She scolds her comb
For harvesting her hair
And wrings her handkerchief
Until it weeps salt tears
And lets a thread of mercury
Crawl from her breast
To the barometer on the wall
Where it lies about the weather.

All year she has been waiting
For her nemesis: some tit-less
Wonder from the surface
With eyes like walking on the moon,
And skin that’s only fit for swaddling,
Sent on some useless errand
For thread or murder – both,
Most likely. ‘Is it not enough,

To have become this?’ spits
Our witch. As if the final
Indignity lies not in wizened
Chicken bones or a kitchen
That laughs behind your back,
But this- to lapse entirely
Into parable, as if this ruin
Was a book of hours, passed
Between breathless virgins
Side-eyeing their way through mass.

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