Rapunzel’s Mother

I hold to darkened rooms, and when I must,
I creep through back alleys in the shadow
of bricks.  Forgiveness is a rich cake I will
never eat.  Alone now.  Blame has fallen
from me like wet leaves.  My husband only
a name, with the taste of bitter roots,
gone to an early grave.  I drink cold tea,
try to conjure the rounded face, the small
commas of hands clutching sunshine,
the girl child’s scent.  I feel an ache
in the curve of my arms, rub them
till they bleed.  My heart lies
in the succulent green-arrowed rosette
of rampion, a withered fruit within
the springtime plant.  I pin a shawl
around my pain and watch young
mothers in the market slicing radishes,
white teeth biting firm, hot meat.

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