Baba Marta

For Brendan’s prompt at Real Toads.  It took me awhile to really chew on this one. Good one, Brendan! I chose an interesting combo of Plath and the Slavic goddess/demon Morana:

I inhabit the wax image of myself, a

Doll’s body. Sickness begins here; I am

A dartboard for witches.

–Sylvia Plath




They burned dolls of Morana, Baba Marta,

tired of

her winter

her death

her nightmares she breathed into the children

pressing their chests and stealing their breath,

crippling their faith, their little bodies–

her dark hair spreading

around their beds like night.



I burn her in such winters-

a landscape of old-whore petticoats,

my many faces. My many bodies.

She haunted me in mirrors with her

cracked face, cackling and blinking eyes–

waxen lashes sweeping.


Morana in my dreams, bringing a kind of death

to an old part of me, where sickness began

and pressed my chest.

A sleeping winter she taunts.



Baba Marta doesn’t know

I have passed the fear of broken faces,

waxen doll limbs and pulled out hair.

I saw her in the mirrors and creeks

I used to hide in.

Baba Marta doesn’t know

I let her do it now

so she doesn’t feel bad.


The dartboard for witches

has become a board I write poetry on,

my black ink bleeding her away

from this body I have become.










17 thoughts on “Baba Marta

  1. Ted Roethke and Sylvia Plath — my biggest early poetic influences, also the crazy fuck and the suicide — cast such long shadows, as you say, their dark hair spreading around my bed at night. But it wasn’t their craziness and lust for annihilation, but mine I needed to winter through: at least, as I did they lost that power. The poet who wrote “Daddy” is the witch here, or as I read her, her power and abandonment pure crazy juice. But as the speaker heals, she can channel that voice, or allow it its rageful puppet show as sacrament. Confession first, then communion, at least in the verses. Really, really fine stuff Amy Jo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I have passed the fear of frozen faces” Would that we all could. A wonderfully strong message about the possibility of growth.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you’ve written of such wisdom here, and compassion for the dark places, of letting it into the cracks – where others let in light – so that, sated, it can leave again. ~

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is tremendously delicate in its depictions, really, for the devastating things it describes–the loss of innocence, the torments, the dark miasma which we drink in and spend our lives trying to reject, until we learn how it can be a hing that enriches us even as it strips us bare. A perfect turn on the metaphor of Plath’s wax doll,( and f you ask me, she makes a pretty good pair with the Slavic demoness.) This I especially found exquisite: “Baba Marta doesn’t know/I let her do it now/so she doesn’t feel bad..’ Just freaking amazing.

    Liked by 1 person


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