Rapunzel Considers the Desert by Jeannine Hall Gailey

On the WayLike learning a foreign language,
I want to learn
a new sand – hardscrabble and brown.
I want a new heat in my blood.
blinded and shorn,
I desire new fruit
grown under an unforgiving sun.
Prickly pear,
open yourself to me. Agave nectar.
Quail, jackrabbit,
grackle and green hummingbird,
let your shadows fall.
Let a fierce light try to turn me to dust.

Jeannine Hall Gailey currently lives in San Diego, and is the author of Becoming the Villainess, published by Steel Toe Books. Poems from the book were featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and Verse Daily; two were chosen for 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Ninth Letter, and, and Star*Line. She was awarded a 2007 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant, and her poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and The Rhysling Award. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and teaches at the MFA program at National University.

Image: On the Way, Mauritania, West Africa, photograph by Ferdinand Reus, 2006.