She built a tower for herself. What a waste
of sand, they all thought, and to not lower
her hair down—who waits, in a desert, to be overcome
and by what? A flood of what to take her? She might have settled
for the picador, who had a nice trough outside his stable,
or the butcher, who could have stuffed her with his leftovers,
no, she demanded more like a fool whose eyes had been put out.
So the men turned their mules away toward other towers,
toward other maidens who let down their trapped braids
as expected, leaving this other woman to grow old.
Eventually she lost her hair. Her tower collapsed. The end
and yet it isn’t. Those who saw her rubble asked
what have you lost? But look at what she has:
the rubble, her loss.
Debbie Urbanski is a writer living in Syracuse, New York. Her poems, essays, and stories have appeared in the Sun, Orion, Verse, the Kenyon Review, Nature, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. Find her at debbieurbanski.com or on Twitter