Third place, Poetry -- 'The Oracle'

By Courtney Lang
Arlington Heights
Posted4/8/2022 4:51 PM

When my belly was stretched and

rounded with you at nearly full-term,


a tanned and bearded Greek man

with sparkling white teeth

would approach, kneel down and

press in. Tilting his head towards

you, he would sing,

sing to you opera as though

he could see through my

skin, your skin, clear to

you, to your pure and fearless spirit.

Perhaps he saw your penchant for theater,

for gowns, for dramatic make up,

your quiet introversion

punctuated by moments of

fierce emotion, loyalty, love;

your ideals held close to your chest and your

stubborn resistance to anything less.

He saw you anticipating your

transition to this grand stage of the

miserable and the miraculous and

he wanted you to know

that before the world knew you,

he saw you,

he celebrated you.

Judge's comment: This poem has a lot of mystery, as befitting its title. We are not quite sure of the relationship of the man to the speaker, or to the baby he sings to, yet it doesn't really matter: What matters is the way he "sees" the unborn child. As a reader, I like the implication that every life begins with the mystery of an unwritten future, and that every one of us deserves celebration for who we are, even before that mystery is fully revealed.

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