nd before
she knew
what had happened to her,Vasalisa was out the door.

(seems like this has happened to her before)

Only this time she had
the fire
in a skull
on a stick
in her hands!

Nice Boots!
Baba Yaga called out the door to her, as Vasalisa departed.

“They’re utilitarian,”
answered Vasalisa,
“You know...made for walking.”

“Consider the Uses of Adversity...”
shouted the Yaga,
always one to have the last word.



Vasalisa couldn’t believe that she was finally


free of Baba Yaga
free as the pages of an unbound book!

AND that she had somehow passed her tests
without being eaten alive

AND that she’d gotten what she’d come for:

a luminary with plenty of memory
a portable power center rammed on a joystick!

(battery pack included)
She looked back over her shoulder
checked her rear view mirror
caught one last glimpse of the hut

on its Kentucky Fried chicken legs
and suddenly felt sentimental about her time
in the Hot House.

ut the doll coaxed her along
and Vasalisa used the skull to blaze the trail

this way
and that way

to the left

to the right

over the freeway
and through the tunnels
back to her home

(if you could call it that.)

At one point her arms got so tired
from carrying the flaming skull-on-a-stick
that she considered leaving it there
on the gravelly shoulder of the highway
like road kill
for some sanitation truck to dispose of...

But now the skull was getting verbal on her too:

“Oh No...you don’t want to put me down sweetheart,
not after you’ve made it this far.”

So she kept carrying the ghastly thing
and it lit her way
through the darkest part of the woods
where the tree trunks grow in massive columns
like the underside
of an overpass.

Vasalisa made it all the way back

to where things started to look familiar again
And there was her house
sitting in the dark
with all its lights out.

From the window
the step mother
and the step sisters
could see Vasalisa emerge
from her venture.

They welcomed her inside
with her conflagrant curio

Needless to say,
they were impressed.

wasn’t it weird?
wasn’t it horrible?

(wasn’t it wonderful!)

She set it down
and booted it up
and logged onto it

and it just sat there
glowing back at them




an eerie monitor
in the dark family room.