How to walk past a tree in winter
for Rapunzel, after exile
Seek out the bushes that smell of snapped spoons,
geometric like the hollow of your throat.
Hit the bark 7 ¼ times, till two tired geese
break away from their V and sit on the grains
in the hand of the small girl.
Take note of your epidermis as it withdraws its
forgetfulness stretching taut under dusk and fogged casita
and walks through the skinny braille branches, arms up
Pick up the animal separate on leaf #9
and replace it with the halved wind on leaf #23.
Leaves #27-#48 must be fed to new lacework.
Next, braid a glass blade and lily pad and attach them
to a screech calf. It must float towards the north-west.
Walk four steps on your hair till you see the bottom of the river.
The girls sit in front of the mirror and pick up enough teeth
to pronounce the things returned to them
They paint their fingernails bright magenta
and eat artichoke, burying the bracts in their skin.
Once the light becomes a pinpoint, they begin to talk.
They talk till their words become woods.
Shinjini Bhattacharjee serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have been published, or are forthcoming in Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Gone Lawn, Crack the Spine, Small Po[r]tions, elimae, Metazen, Red Paint Hills Poetry, Literary Orphans and elsewhere.