Pregnant With Rapunzel

by Laura King

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.

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.

Laura King lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she studies law and writes the occasional poem. Although her fruit bowl typically only holds apples and pears and bananas, she hopes someday to live in a place where she can compete with bears to browse on trailside thimbleberries.

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