by Theodora Goss

When she learns her history, when she is told
by the vindictive witch that her mother sold
her for a mess of rampions,

she will cut off her hair, the long gold strands
lying in her hands, effective locking herself
into the tower, alone,

wanting no supernatural chaperone,
no prince to rescue her, wanting nothing
except her own mother,

the one thing she cannot have. Rapunzel will sit
with her shorn hair on a chair at the center of the room,
head bowed in mourning.

The birds will bring her food, she will drink the rain,
the wind in the trees will sing to her again,
but who will comb her hair

until it grows once more in a golden tangle,
long enough to reach the ground, so the girl
can escape her grief and pain?

(The image is an illustration for “Rapunzel” by Emma Florence Harrison.)

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