Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Rapunzel’s Mother

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I can't explain why I wanted that simple
thing so much: dark green rampion leaves, the curled
coverlets of them stacked together on the sideboard,
the rainy steam of them cooking, the hot full softness
and the bittersweet bite in my throat, mouthful
after mouthful. It was as if there were no other way
to keep alive. I was hungry enough to demand it, to steal
it, to make a deal.
Everyone knows the price I paid. What
lets my heart rest is the image of my daughter -- without
a single worry -- swinging her pale braids over the sill, then
leaning there against the cool stone wall, waiting
by the window, certain all the heavy things she wished for
would make their way to her, sure she could bear them all
up with no help beyond her own strong body.

Carolyn Williams-Noren’s work was selected by E. Ethelbert Miller and Kristin Naca for a 2010 Loft Mentor Award. Her poem, “Mistakes,” received a 2009 Pushcart Prize nomination from Seems. She has poems forthcoming this summer in Slipstream, at La Fovea, and in the new magazine of gardening literature, Greenwoman. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, two daughters, and a cat named Comma. Find her online at

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