Morning leaked slow, a peach juice ooze
on flagged floor and basin grim.
Its warming fingers sneaking, slinking
found her cheeks as if in fun
but even beauty, she'd learned
is fickle company and she batted
tiredly the light from her shrinking
eyes, rolled away and bade it:
"No tomorrow is my friend.
I have seen a million dawns
and none have kept their
wispy, pastel-assed promises."
But even so the light expanded
picking gold from the vast
coil of hair beside the bed
and tricking dark corners into smiles.
"Today's the day" a spider whispered
her silken tones presaging
Wilbur's coming. "Today's the day
you will be freed. Mark my web."
Rapunzel rose at last as her
breakfast tray slid anonymously
beneath the oaken door, its rotted
splinters adding the final pepper.
Before eating she went to wash
her face and saw, in basin water's
reflection a message in spider silk
"Reflections are your friend."
Just then a faint "Ahoy!"
flickered up through the ghastly
maw her captor called a window.
Her natural world reduced
to a colourful tonsil in the gape
of that dim, stone throat.
"Ahoy!" the bidding came again.
She leaned over far to see
a figure below, clad in floral
jacket and a fine purple hat.
"Who are you?" Rapunzel cried
her disappointed tear falling
on the hat and causing a
tiny nasturtium to bloom against
the royal tones. "I'm Mary, luv.
Come to rescue you. But luv,
you've got to let your hair down
a bit, else no scones for you."
Rapunzel sighed, knowing full
well the heavy plait never grew enough.
She watched below, this latest
rescue bid, her first to offer morning tea
instead of diamond rings.
Mary produced a small saucepan
from her pocket. She dipped it
in the nearby brook. Rapunzel
saw the morning light shimmer
in saucepans wake and could even
hear the brook's excited giggle.
"Are you going to boil an egg?"
Rapunzel's tired voice was reedy
on the slightly chortled breeze.
Mary placed the saucepan
by the castle wall right beneath
the plait's too short length.
Rapunzel gasped as the length
filled the pot and seemed
in wavering water's silver
to climb the whole wall.
Mary calmly drew the reflection
out - a dripping rope of
starburst silvers and plaited gilt.
She tossed it, easy as a
graduation hat and Rapunzel
found it in her hand like that.
"The bed luv. Tie it to the bed!"
Soon Rapunzel had shimmied
down, feet on soft earth,
head feeling warm sun.
She sank to the ground and
rolled about in laughing frissons
her fingers digging the soil
her cheeks caressing the grass.
Mary let her roll, a smile on
her sweet, plump face. "Now, luv,
we must be off. Scones in the oven
an' all." Rapunzel smiled, her
duck egg eyes, at last remembering
gratitude. "How did you know?"
Mary shrugged and said "T'was
the goldfish told me. There was
I, doing my hair by pond's
reflection and it said (first
time it's ever spoke) it said
'Better uses for reflections
than this pastel-assed primping.
Go save a princess with your
smallest saucepan.' So I did.
Can't ignore a talking goldfish."