|The Poetry of Karla Huston|
after Julia Alvarez
If you really think some prince climbed her hair
to woo and save her, think again. Okay,
I'll go along with a hot guy on a fast horse
and some fantastic promises, and maybe
Rapunzel was swept off her tresses
when he climbed off her ladder mane.
And I believe her birth-mother could've been
under the throes of an urgent pregnancy hunger,
wanting her neighbor's rampion enough
to ask her husband steal for it.
But I can't swallow those poor peasants
giving away their kid for a few salad greens.
Still I remember being pregnant
and lusting over a plate of fresh asparagus.
Why is every wizened woman, protecting
her property, a witch or an evil step-mother?
Have a little compassion. And Rapunzel
trapped in that doorless, stairless tower?
How did she go to the bathroom;
no slop pot was ever mentioned in the story.
And no shower? She must have been as ripe
as mushy plums and that hair, (do you believe
twenty yards of it?) must've had the texture
of dreadlocks on steroids. Nowadays
kindness doesn't cut it anymore.
And the girl no older than fifteen?
Enticing her is an arrestable offense these days.
Later the now-blind prince finds her
wandering in the desert alone and singing.
Her tears of joy cure him.
Okay, here's where I stop.
And when he leads her back to his kingdom
to be his princess forever, all she has to do
is learn how to dip and bow, maybe kiss
her mother-in-law's ankles now and then
and smile, for godsakes,
where's that happy smile?
Previously published in New Zoo Poetry Review