baba yaga’s hut

they come to me for the stupidest things
a match, a coal, a needle and thread
i don’t believe a word.

when inclined
towards company
– which is rare (have you met my house?
i thought not) –
i’ll have them in
sit them down.
i turn away to stir the kettle
so they needn’t make their odd little pleas to this
hideousness
(no need to scare
too much
too soon.)

 

some of them remind me
of the wench i was
back then. i had the flaxen hair, the fuck-me eyes
the willing hands and
those dainty feet (can you imagine?)

they served me well,
for a time.

i traded them for this house.

it was as simple as a meeting on a bridge was it
a troll .. a devil ..
some hunched little fellow with
yellow eyes, you know
how it goes.

they whispered at first, and then they sang
(back in the town)
that i was banished here.
my sins grew wickeder, my teeth sharper
with each new suckling in the crib.

so much the better.
i stir the kettle.
my house shifts beneath us.

 

yes – it was a small price.

i pay monthly. or ..
is it yearly? i ..
can’t remember, but
along they come
sure as clockwork
bearing my long-lost beauty. i watch them
(just about) regain their poise
on entering my garden
of burning bones.

in the kitchen i listen. offer herbs,
a bed of straw,
perhaps a menial task (for my
private amusement).

then i burn their lives to the ground.

 

they get over it, eventually.
commitment issues, trouble with trust, self-doubt,
maybe some odd ‘thing’ about control.

a little therapy in the 30s
a wimmims’ group to shove them in
(roughly)
the right direction.

by the 40s those that had taken husbands have
freed themselves by

legal means
or otherwise.
burned their hair
etc.

by the 50s their bone gardens
begin to rival mine.

they write to thank me. the cat
brings in their
feathers,
shells and
altar dolls.

i throw them into my kettle
and the whole house stirs.

nov 2021, after dancing at st peters