Marisa Cappetta
New Zealand

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016
Baba Yaga Develops Munchausen’s by Proxy

She cripples the moon.
Plays a torch over the smooth,
flawless silver disk, until it pulls
and puckers with burn scars.

It becomes dependent on her
for scraps and companionship.
She wears it around her neck
and the light shines from the windows

of her cursed, bird-legged house, a grisly hut
that some say is a princess enchanted.
Tethered to her wrist, the hut hops beside her
and screeches mournfully as they wander.

Moon and house at the mercy
of her disorder, in turn they are starved
and nursed back to health, figments
of a delusion, her children and captives.

Possessive of light, she flings a skirt
over her head, shutters the glow
with the folds and feeds them enough
shards of glass and lightening bugs

to keep them barely alive. The feather-lined
skirt lifts her when reversed. She floats
on the night sky, a dark smudge
seen only with averted vision.

Baba Yaga Sings

She trills my sister’s name with an elaborate roll
of the r. Rrreneh-heh! The name evaporates on the hot cement.

She calls again and adds extra syllables to my name -
Maratzukah! she shrieks in a voice that defies gravity.

Our hearts beat fast from heat, the relentless zizz of flies
and the uncanny soprano with hints of curses in it.

Crouched behind our side of the fence, we try to quiet
our breath. She ignores the bone of resistance we poke

through the ramshackle palings. Again comes the sing-song
demand for one of us to wring a chicken’s neck.