Out of ideas, so I turned to fairytales once again. I got thinking about how, in Rumplestiltskin, we know nothing about the heroine. This wasn’t originally supposed to be a sonnet or to rhyme, but it fell into place.
The Miller’s Daughter
For all this talk of names no one asks for mine.
I have one—guess it if you like. It’s easy, fine
for a sturdy girl who feels a fraud,
fingers pricked by needle and straw.
I suppose it doesn’t matter to men
what to call something they trade between them,
but they carve their horses’ names onto their stalls.
My name is not written on anything at all.
I exist in the possessive sense: miller’s daughter,
prince’s wife, kingdom’s queen, child’s mother,
and I’m worth no more than I can spin,
gold from hands and child within.
My second-born, one nobody
will want to steal. Name her after me.