Bubbe and the Snow Maiden, Vitebsk, 1903 – Mikki Aronoff

The snow maiden is melting.
Horses foam, fog the air
as troikas slush past
birch and pine.
A mob of kin arrives, babies
and wet boots placed at the fire.
Bubbe ties her apron,
shuffles to the table.
Zeyde should be here,
may onions grow
from his navel.
She lights a candle
next to jellied calf’s foot,
grey and rigid,
and a cauldron thick
with chicken feet
and ayerlach. Squabbling
hands reach everywhere.
Berries leak sweet
purple, a curse of cells
feasts on Bubbe’s stomach.
The youngest at his violin
scratches for pitch. Wolves
gather at the door, wait
for fortune to fall
when Nature drops her shawl.

Mikki Aronoff’s work has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, EastLit, Virga, Love’s Executive Order, bosque9, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, SurVision, Rogue Agent Journal, London Reader, Popshot Quarterly, Global Poemic and elsewhere. A New Mexico poet and Pushcart nominee, she is also involved in animal advocacy.