mad hag

Transitions №7

Author: Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya


windowsill collection

what a scary old woman a terrifying mad hag
dark dry and empty
was kept in the family
wasn’t sent to a nursing home
moreover she wasn’t that insane
she took care of herself
she could behave and during family festivities
at the table she didn't talked to the young
didn't pester the children
with her questions and smiles
which could frighten them
she was looking at her own plate
thanked for the dinner
and left the room before the hostess
brought in the desert
the old hag hadn’t left the house for a long time
she cleaned her room by herself
swapping away the dust and wiping the vases
she just put on the windowsill
row by row
thin-walled skulls of small birds
yellow and blue feathers
stones with holes through
pointed cone shells
pieces of moss with berries in crimson
dry rustling leaves
black miniscule branches curved into unknown signs
patches of golden fleece
empty odorous crab shells
snake spines tied with wire
probably with wire what else could it be
they crunched and span in every direction
and turned into spirals
there were dried flowers
ready to be added to the herbarium
and butterflies of all colours and forms
she touched them with her cracked fingers
one by one a peculiar object
a fragile item she touched them row by row
reflecting in the far distant glass
with her smooth skin and slim waist and high breasts
in her best



that scary body
what did you think
It is only in youth that you meet
another unfamiliar body?
now everyday in the mirror
cough migraine islands of spine
sour looks over dryness
in the throat do not talk at the table
with strangers
dry roots swell in the basement
the house grumbles slowly in the morning
crawling out
grey haired dog barks wagging its tail
a bookshelf falls down books flutter under the ceiling
a laughter from under the bed
it is not scary anymore
to look into the wardrobe
who is waiting for you there



I have seen with my own eyes
how the empire crashed and fell down
and got up again
how currencies soared and securities sank
how products crumbled and rotted
I was not worried much about them
I was upset by a different inflation
by the disappearance of the inheritance I could not pass on to you
inheritance from my grandmother
who taught me to love them
who taught me to read them
after all, for intelligent people, books were more important than money
and being a diligent hostess i multiplied them a thousand times
so now i can watch how in the basement
old paper books in a foreign language crumble to dust