The Gift of Baba Yaga / Catherine Kyle

A collection of small candles flickering on a table.

After Vasilisa

By the light of the skull
whose sockets flicker
amber, scarlet scalding,

my enemies curl up
one by one,
become round piles of char.

Such gentle blessings
will not serve you,
the old woman scolded,

brushing corn
from the cloth doll
you gave me,

Mother. Muttering,
she handed me
grinning flame.

I did not know
its will. I thought
it would light

my way, did not know
it would stare infernos.
I step from the smoldering

beams, the lumber
of their hut

Into freedom. Hair incensed
with ash. A question
mark. A study

in contrasting blessings.
Girlish, fearsome.
Blushing death.



Catherine Kyle is the author of the poetry collection Parallel (Another New Calligraphy, 2017); the poetry chapbooks Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015), Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015), and Saint: A Post-Dystopian Hagiography (dancing girl press, 2018); and the hybrid-genre collection Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014). She teaches creative writing at the College of Western Idaho and through The Cabin, a literary nonprofit.

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