Friday Feature, Poem, Poetry

Russian Doll – Teika Marija Smits

Welcome to the first official Friday Feature where we celebrate our wonderful independent poetry presses by sharing two poems from new publications. And what better way to start then with the award winning Indigo Dreams and the new collection by Teika Marija Smits, Russian Doll.

The poems of Russian Doll tell a story of metamorphosis and becoming. Charting the ever-shifting terrain of selfhood, they speak of the joys and challenges of being both daughter and mother; schoolgirl and middle-aged woman; and detail the many ways in which the stories of our lives are as multicoloured and multi-layered as a Russian doll.


By the time you’d conjured yourself up
out of nothing more than love and cells,
I knew too much about changelings,
the wickedness of fairies.

So when you made me sick and round and fat,
unable to think or feel or care,
I couldn’t help but wonder
if I’d already been tricked.

Fairies are not to be underestimated.

And when, after nine months, you demanded
to be let out, to be with your fairy kin
I couldn’t help but scream:
“Go, go, go!”

Your father, understanding my fear,
gently placed you on my chest,
reminded me of our protections:
the iron tablets I’d been taking, the boxwood round the house,
and allowed me to fall in love with you.

Russian Doll

I am heavy with the hopes
of my younger selves – the ones
who dreamt of all I could be.

They call to me, disappointed,
as my once-bright dress
begins to dull, as I thin

and am worn smooth by little hands
that dismantle me daily.
I answer with excuses and apologies.

Life intrudes, I explain;
takes us apart
and rebuilds us askew.

Teika Marija Smits is a writer, freelance editor and mother-of-two. Her poems have been widely published. Teika was formerly the managing editor of Mother’s Milk Books and is now an Editor-at-Large at Valley Press alongside running The Book Stewards – a writers’ support site that she manages with her husband. In her spare moments she likes to doodle, draw and paint. More information here:

Publication 25/03/2021 (In stock now)

1 thought on “Russian Doll – Teika Marija Smits”

  1. Looking forward to hearing Teika read from her pamphlet at The Indigo Spring Launch on zoom this Thursday (25th March, 7.30pm). Also reading from their pamphlets will be Oak Ayling, Victoria Bennett, Claire Booker, Isabelle Kenyon and Terry Quinn. To book a free place email


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