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Featured Poem • May 2015

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Mortar/Pestle

 

Jane Yolen

 
 

Baba Yaga has never learned to drive a car though she travels many miles each day, sailing in her granite mortar, steered by a pestle. The thing smells of crushed garlic, borscht, dark Turkish cigarettes, kvass, a Russian stew of bad habits, and tall tales. No one sees her of course. She doesn't exist unless you count bad dreams. Yet still she flies, the friendly and unfriendly skies, across tundra, taiga, major highways, avoiding traffic jams, roundabouts, only bothering the occasional helicopter or low-flying private planes. Now and then, aliens are reported, or the government says she's a weather balloon, or sometimes an incoming storm. But that blip of unknown origin means she's off to the grocery store or the bingo parlor, mahjong game, or bowling alley again. Or maybe the latest Wolverine movie— she sure loves her Hugh Jackman, though she says his teeth are too white, too even, wonders how he can eat with those choppers, gnashes her own. When she gets going nothing, nothing stands in her way.

 

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Jane YolenJane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” is the author of over 350 published books, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? The books range from rhymed picture books and baby board books, through middle grade fiction, poetry collections, nonfiction, and up to novels and story collections for young adults and adults. She has won two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Grand Master Award, and been named a Grand Master of sf/fantasy poetry by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates, and her Skylark Award—given by NESFA (the New England Science Fiction Association)—set her good coat on fire.

 

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