Rapunzel! Rapunzel?
Photo by Ines Milewski

Life within a tower that scrapes the sky
might seem high to the common peasantry
but in the clouds, the friends are few–
a dove or two who hardly speak and never stay
beyond the night another day.
Any face besides mother’s would suffice
but the witch chastises her wants as vice
so she shuts her mouth and plays nice.

Rapunzel could sing but lacks breadth of lung
to break through the clouds with her songs.
Not that anyone would bother to listen–
the prince is preoccupied poaching low-hanging pelt.
She retreats to her canvas and paints
herself in foreign places she’s never seen
among the friends she’s never had but always dreamed
beside the prince she’ll never have but always need.

Should she sing another song on bended knees
in wait of a prince to set her free?
Should she flaunt her hair? Though it be fair,
her head’s too high to catch the prince’s stare.
Should she wade in fantasies forever in wait
of the key to break out of her womb–her grave?

Not in the mood to play, she plucks a feather
from nearby doves and weaves them together
into a pair of wings she declares her own,
hidden from her mother beneath her nightgown.
Tomorrow’s dawn, she casts down
her heavy crown and leaps with final faith,
flaps her arms without thought or strategy.
With all her fight she takes aflight across the sky.

“Impatient! Imprudent!” her mother shouts
trapped in the tower without her golden ladder.
The peasants decry her a harpy, aim their arrows
to knock her down to scrub their floors,
but the breeze blows away their bile
as she plays with angels over the Sea,
pushes aside princes pawing at her feet,
unwilling to settle–she’s already Queen.

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