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 Magazine, Hobart, Ms. Magazine, Nashville Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Sugar House Review, Verse Daily, and many other publications. Her website is: www.megjohnson.org