At marriage knell,
my hair thickens and I no more scissor
at the mirror, my barber grandfather
shadowed in bas-relief. I no more
chop and snip nearly to the bone,
going by pure feel. My hair
the fencepost, too much wah-wah
to notice how it twines and silvers.
My hair fabled and regaled, retold
by firelight, braided by tribal mothers
until it grows in largesse, encircles
wolves and black swans,
a blood moon. In the village square,
rung wide and far, great awakening
at the embattled gate: no more waiting
for the prince to ascend the fool’s ladder,
no more fairytale end. My hair
her forbidden rampion, skein of silk
more precious than birdsong, all I own
high in the tower, my warbling onliness
loose in the straw winds over river
and creek that calls nightly
in plea and release:
Let it down,
let it down.
— Linda Parsons
Linda Parsons coordinates WordStream, WDVX-FM’s weekly reading series, with Stellasue Lee. She is the reviews editor at Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel and has contributed poetry to The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, American Life in Poetry, among many other journals and anthologies. Her fifth poetry collection, Candescent, is forthcoming from Iris Press. Parsons is also playwright-in-residence for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Editor’s Note: Rapunzel’s hair let down from the tower engulfing the forest below is from Disney’s game, Tangled.