by Sari Arent

Babusjka won’t play with me anymore
She lies in the rocking chair
I move it back and forth
Like when grandpa sits there
Smoke dispersing from his pipe
Like liquid snakes
“They will choke you”
Mom says

Babusjka’s eyes are so wide
They are the only source of light
When she’s hiding in the dark
Embers reflect in her yellow irises
Her ears are large and pointy
They twist towards me
When I scream
Babusjka won’t play with me anymore
When I grab her
Pull her towards me
She turns and watches me
And her eyes are perfectly round
And the yellow is drowned in black
And from her mouth comes a sound like sand paper
Or mother’s skin
Since dad came back
Cracks and rough lines
Spelling out that we needed to leave

My mother’s eyes
Are narrow and dark
They creep over my grip on Babusjka’s paws
Her eyes find cracks in my skin
And seep in
So I grow cold and search for grandpa
Grandpa is in the rocking chair
Enveloped by liquid snakes
They will choke you

Babusjka and mom are alike
They don’t speak to me in words
But I like Babusjka’s eyes
I see a forest in them
“Would you like to go back there?”
She brings me gifts from the forest
Still warm and bloody
Like mom’s hands
“Do you think I’m evil, Babusjka?”
Babusjka won’t play with me anymore
Her eyes are more yellow than black
They don’t reflect the light
Now the forest has disappeared
Maybe she’s running through the grass,
Catching mice


[Sari Arent (1993) is Danish, currently based in Paris and has an MA in cross-cultural studies and a BA in comparative literature from the University of Copenhagen. Her writing, which often explores urban life and surreal elements, has been featured in three Danish short story collections: Skybrud (2014, Håbefulde Unge Forfattere), Til deres dages ende (2012, Kandor) and Bag Adonais Spejl (2011, Kandor).]