Pregnant with Rapunzel
by Laurie King
I kept my mouth closed as I watched the ramps grow big and bitter.
It was my daughter’s appetite that sprung the ferns along my throat,
the fiddleheads of hunger that unfurled along my tongue like tongues.
The window where we watched became our belfry, she the tongue
and I the hollow of a bell that ached to ring, uncloistering the bitter
leaves. Greed built that garden wall. This is our child’s hunger in my throat.
Please, husband, get me rampion. We watched him tear the milky throats,
leaving the root. And when a fist closed on his wrist, he gripped those tongues
as if he held my hand, and heard their price: our daughter for the bitter
no more bittersweet than this, the sight of her: a pretty tongue of hair spilt from a tower’s throat.
Rampion, or “ramps,” was the bitter salad green that Rapunzel’s mother longed for, sent her husband to gather from the enchantress’s walled garden next door, and paid for with her unborn daughter.
(This poem was originally published at Goblin Fruit, a delightful, online literary journal featuring poetry with a fantastical or mythic angle. Check out more of their amazing archive, or submit your own work at http://www.goblinfruit.net/)