She locked me away here, the old witch,

to protect me, she said,

to keep me from pain.

Or was it to keep me from pleasure?

Are they the same?

My hair grew wild,

a rope to bind me fast

tethered to her apron strings.

“Your hair is your strength,” she told me.

“Like Samson. No man

shall take it from you.”

She teased and tugged the tresses

to a beauty unseen,

then left me, safe, she thought.

But danger rode past my window that night;

the stranger, curious to know

the truth whisperers touched on-

the last maiden, all others having fallen

easily to his wiles.

The prospect of a challenge left him

dizzy with thoughts of conquest,

dry-mouthed and panting,

till he could barely frame the plea:

“Rapunzel, let down your hair!”

It slithered downward

like the serpent in Eden.

The woman gave him the fruit,

and he ate it.

And the eyes of both were opened.

But he alone stood naked

in the new-found knowledge of his fate.

He thought to rescue me

from the prison of my solitude.

I have bound him to me with these tresses

and no-one shall take him from me.

First published in Reach




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