Mornings when the swallows
glide by the marsh hawk
and corn ripens in the fields—
I feel winter at my back,
hollow and cylindrical as the tower
where I hear her calling, Rapunzel,
Rapunzel, let down your hair.
The braids cut off
long ago; even so, my head feels them
drop—two heavy bellropes
twisting as she grabs
and fist over fist, pulls herself up.
I’m coming, my child, my own.
Until against her face, the hag’s
smooth tongue, the kiss
I choke in the ashen air
even though it’s summer.
Yellow roses climb over the wall
out toward the pasture of grazing cows,
where breezes carry their bells
in through the window like songs out of darkness
falling upon a prince’s ear.