Rapunzel and the Moths

by Alice Graves


The moths, they fluff against the glass. Soundless, they come.

Rapunzel welcomes them from their dark into hers, glad

Borrowed bodies, unreturned. Flickering shadows crash,

Moths slip and cling, hair-tangled, and snag

On seeing themselves, lashes fluttering, glassy-eyed.


Moths pour themselves into the hollow fire,

She leans above them, lips smiling, purple and wide.

Pinning them to the quilted mattress, they expire.

Little deaths catalogued, labelled, categorized, done.



Rapunzel hides her moths in the jar under the stair.

And still they come; unsatisfactory fumblings in the air,

Still bodies bent against her dusty glass.


Wings turn to dust, to mounds of browning ash.