The Witch from Rapunzel—Carol Berg

I wanted a daughter I could feed spells to.
My garden, easy to grow, so much soil, so many
roots. The lettuce, succulent green, the leaves

curled into each other like so many hugs.
Who wouldn’t want to eat it? I could build
a garden, but a tower, that was something else.

So when the carpenter and his wife tried to trick
me, I tricked back. I planted the girl
in the tower, like a deep root grows a pine tree. 

She spun her own craft with songs sung in a voice
that left even me undone. Climbing up her hair
was like climbing into her throat. 

No one speaks of me or my hair anymore—it too
flowed around me like the sea flows around rock,
soft to the touch—May sun on first tulip petal.

I ripped each follicle 
out of my scalp.
Not one root grew back.

And now I understand the desire 
of Rapunzel’s mother—the want
of a silk thread inside my mouth.

Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in GyroscopeCrab Creek Review (Poetry Finalist 2017), DMQ ReviewHospital Drive (Contest Runner-Up 2017), Sou’westerSpillwayRedactionsRadar PoetryVerse Wisconsin. Her chapbooks, Her Vena Amoris (Red Bird Chapbooks), and “Self-Portraits” in Ides (Silver Birch Press) are available. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. She was winner of a scholarship to Poets on the Coast and a recipient of a Finalist Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 

photo by Nathan Dumlao (via unsplash)