The Miller's Daughter

Poet: Sarah Carleton

Around my tower, shawls are milling, ladies-in-waiting of wool, and I must unknit them without yanking, so I point my needle into one loop at a time and give a tug and then another till the strands kink around me like ramen noodles. I ordered a better dream than this. I lay in bed, browsing patterns and images, and nodded off with creation as the centerpiece—whole-cloth triangles of lace netting and mosaic stitch —but my sleep brain has its own agenda tonight, leaving me kneeling in a bog of yarn and picking at snarls, mired in the pit of the story. I do not wait for a manic little man to appear. I force the flow forward and am back on track before I wake, weaving in the final loose threads, my tale’s end as lustrous and tidy as a bale of gold spun from straw.

Sarah Carleton writes poetry, edits fiction, plays the banjo, and makes her husband laugh in Tampa, Florida. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and have appeared in numerous publications, including Nimrod, Chattahoochee Review, Tar River Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and New Ohio Review. Her first collection, Notes from the Girl Cave, was published in 2020 by Kelsay Books.