poem17 Aug 2020 07:26 am
Bookplate of Estella Canziani, Published by A Fowler, Kansas City, MO - The Bookplate Annual for 1921

Beth Cato

Rapunzel, Rapunzel
let down your coarse hair
that my friend spiders
may tickle up its length

think of me as they spin
silk to swaddle your form
remember those days long past
when I, newly cursed, 
fled the dark forest and found 
your spindly tower

found you

you granted me the warmth
of your pillow, your expression
of puzzlement as I wove words
into webs and tried in vain
to teach you to read

but you, in your tower
had never known words, or books
never known human touch beyond
the age of seven 
when she locked you here

I think that made me hate the witch
most of all--
that she bound you on high
ignorant of a full world
and a myriad more

I wish I could be up there now to tell you
you needn't contain your scream or terror
as my spiders lower you to earth
that the witch will not hear

she will hear nothing ever again

I never knew peace as with you
your constant rhymes
the joy you took in sharing your
personal collection of constellations

I would have repulsed myself
had I seen my spider body
but you carried me on a forearm
my broad black legs sprawled on ebony skin
you loved me

can you love me still
when my small fingers clutch your arm?

all delights of the world can be yours
and yet--
deep down I fear that
you will never tolerate cities or noise
that the greatest comfort will come
in a circular space of thirty feet
that clothes will drive you mad
spoons, forks, pencils useless
in your fingertips

even so, I pray

you will still enjoy my company
even if I never again share your pillow
that you'll know the gratitude
the love
of one who was once a spider 

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