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Image by Taylor Smith
I am weighed down by a curse
of golden hair that I cast from the tower
so my ogress can climb
to teach me magic.
Yet she never taught me
how to open the door.
The black swallowtails
land in the garden, their little caterpillars
gobbling up the parsley that
transforms them into the winged freedom
A prince walks by—as princes do.
He proclaims his love for me. I blow a kiss.
He wants to take me to his kingdom.
He wants to make me his bride.
He takes out a rope.
I cut off my braid.
“Your hair,” he weeps,
and rides away.
That night I weave my cut hair
into a golden ladder.
I never needed a door.
*References the original Rapunzel tale,
“Petrosinella,” by Giambattista Basile in 1634.
A New Understanding
Tented wings, burst of red,
the spotted lanternfly
invasive decimator of vineyards
lies on my gravel path
its charcoal-spotted flecks
I lift my foot and stomp.
The leafhopper jumps into flight,
its yellow and red patches easily recognizable,
hidden again between closed wings as it lands.
Once more my foot raises
waiting for a movement,
to smash its body into the ground.
Squished beneath my shoe,
a blend of grass and wing,
a red dot the only evidence.
I know I cannot stop them.
It has been two years since they traveled
over oceans, expanded their reach
from Asia to America and living now
in my maple tree.
Another movement catches my eye,
my foot rises,
an azure butterfly hovers over the grass.
I lower my foot
in some strange new understanding
*The spotted lanternfly was first recorded in
North American in 2014 in Pennsylvania. It has
no natural predators, although frogs and spiders
are known to eat them. Pesticide spraying is
ineffective as adult insects can jump far and
disperse quickly. Scientists are currently looking
for a biological control for the insect.
V. Bray has been a writer since childhood and still has a box filled with her first “books,” usually illustrated with markers and bound with yarn. She writes in many genres, from speculative and historical fiction to poetry. Her work has been published in About Place Journal, Multiplicity Magazine, and The Writer magazine. Learn more at authorvbray.com.