What Hair? – by Kelly Fordon

after Rapunzel

You cut it, blunt, boyish, called it
hair of a mouse, or a tumbleweed,
a sleeping skag, a humming string,
a ragged thatch, a detached planet.

Nothing here but scattered leaves,
jagged branches, no wall, no tower,
just a stand of wretched revelations,
a tattered screen revealing zilch.

Mother, when you asked me what I wanted,
I requested blue barrettes–fortune
favors the bold. Unsettling sounds
emanated from your mouth. Were they

helpful words or terrible musicians?
I made myself heavy, so I didn’t float
off, the chattering coming from the trees
was me. The bird became a boy who flew

across the room and landed at my feet.
I remember the sugar, how you hid it
on the high shelf. I longed for a tiny elf, one
to slap me on the back with a Way to go,

or a hand reaching down from heaven,
a shoestring rhapsody, the light from
the sky hitting my stone dome, to feel
like this moment was not a smash, that

you wouldn’t just explode, or kick the dog,
that when I entered the room, your seraphs
might lay the red carpet. Where are my
dancing shoes and the rat-a-tat-tat?

Where are you, Mother, your rosary beads a-clackin’?
In a story I once loved I lived with you in that tower.
In a story I once loved we entered another portal.
In a story I once loved the road rose up to meet us.

Kelly FordonKelly Fordon’s latest short story collection I Have the Answer (Wayne State University Press, 2020) was chosen as a Midwest Book Award Finalist and an Eric Hoffer Finalist. Her poetry collection, Goodbye Toothless House, (Kattywompus Press, 2019) was an Eyelands International Prize Finalist and an Eric Hoffer Finalist. She has received a Best of the Net Award and Pushcart Prize nominations in three different genres. She teaches at Springfed Arts and The InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit, and  online, where she also runs a monthly poetry and fiction blog. http://www.kellyfordon.com