When I Said “Lock Me up” I was Bluffing

I am both the miller’s daughter  

and Rumpelstiltskin. I sit quietly.  

I throw a tantrum. The gold  

was straw before I got here.  

I contemplate avoiding motherhood.  

When I told you I was Rumpelstiltskin,  

you didn’t believe me. If you  

would have listened, I wouldn’t  

have let the flames of the bonfire  

slide over you, overtaking you, the way  

my body once engulfed yours. 

Meg Johnson is the author of the books Inappropriate Sleepover (The National Poetry Review Press, 2014), The Crimes of Clara Turlington (Vine Leaves Press, 2015), and Without: Body, Name, Country (Vine Leaves Press, 2020). Without: Body, Name, Country was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards, The Crimes of Clara Turlington won the Vignette Collection Award, and Inappropriate Sleepover was the runner-up for the Rousseau Prize for Literature. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and received an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her writing has appeared in Bust MagazineHobartMs. MagazineNashville ReviewPainted Bride QuarterlySugar House ReviewVerse Daily, and many other publications. Her website is: www.megjohnson.org

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