nthposition online magazine

Rapunzel & Sober


[ poetry - june 05 ]


So, they kept me in my tower
at the top of those stairs -
Sleeping Beauty, Briar Rose,
rattler of chains.
I was pretty in waiting
my face black with cinders and with sugar cane.

If I was lucky,
they'd let me have a Lady of Shalott
mirror mirror on the wall
for me to peer and check that I could be
the fairest of them all.

If only I could get clean -
If only I could be good -
face as white as snow pitched
on a glass coffin.
If only I wasn't Jo with a temper
so fierce it burnt out dear Mama
and killed sweet sister Beth.

Then I could let that old wizened man
into my cell,
and he'd give me the power to spin
my hair into gold,
plait it as the strongest silkiest rope
to fashion my escape.

Rumpelstiltskin, thrice-said,
was how I surprised that incubus
sat upon my chest.

I named his horrible demon demands
named him, and nailed him
so that with a puff of smoke,
he disappeared.

And fire devoured the briars which
spun their prickly falsehoods around
my tower.
And I cut off the long hank of my
just-for-him hair with golden shears,
so that
no more would he climb,
prick my finger,
nor ravish me awake.

Instead, my howls which once
had filled my madwoman's attic
with despair,
announce the birth of my

We hold hands and jump.



Without my familiar
colourbox set
of useless love affairs
and empty glasses
I am as transparent
and vulnerable
as a jelly fish all
washed up.