Our Rarer Monsters
poetry by Noel Sloboda


Baba Yaga’s hut laid a great egg and
would have turned bright red if she could have—
hardly befitting an unnatural terror,
thought the hut, all the sitting still,
the requisite wait for new life;
then there was the question of the father—
that Phoenix who had rushed back to heaven
or the old cock from the village who always
proclaimed his manhood so loudly?

The hut didn’t think either would be much
good as a parent, or make the old witch
who lived inside her feel any less bitter
about having her household fixed by
the obligations of motherhood;
the hut settled, tried to comfort herself
with vague memories of what had sat on her
back when she was still vulnerable, before
she became hard both inside and out.