The daughter of Rapunzel learned to sing
sweetly from her mother, to enrich her sound
with radishes, rose hips and salad greens. For years,
she played the harp and remained a happy child
until suddenly turning silent.
On the day she lost her voice,
the crone’s raven landed near the stream
clutching a dragonfly in his beak.
Then he flew away with the insect
shimmering like a crystal key,
leaving the blonde girl to ripple in water
and trade her bright self for a sullen shadow.
Now she twirls limp tendrils of hair
and speaks one word answers,
same tone, same size and all stored up
as if they were lentils inside a glass tower.
I remember when her tongue
was a leaf of ruby lettuce
seasoned with awe, and the garden
waited to serve her like a muse
draped in sheer light and flowering plants.
But the day she found that darkened mood,
its winged echo fell behind her ribs
and was left flapping sorrow
against a small trellis of bone.
At night it grew deeper --and still does
as she turns in her sleep
feeling the tense grip of bird and moon.