The Sibyl at Delphi Invites the Reader
Not to boast—but Michelangelo chose five of our sisterhood
to hold court above your mortal gaze. Swathed in a dazzle
of tangerine, delicado green of spring, sky-summer blue,
I swivel on my Sistine-ceiling stool to deter the paparazzi --
those People gossip-hounds would howl to snatch a glance
at my prophecies, my exclusive interviews. But for you,
dear reader, I unroll this scroll of truths and gossips. Fair
warning—whispered words within might shock, so counter
to Dame Edith’s classic spin. Each groan, each wail,
every (self-serving) tale a clutch of sibilants and schemes
and sobs, straight to you from lips of gods and humans.
But hold! You think it’s all ecstasy and oleander smoked
to spark our hisses, our birth-and-death reveals, the raves
that swerve heroine and hero onward or astray? No,
by Athena, it’s our haunting, our ace reporting, our mythic
ESP. By night we fan out on our beats, Greece and east,
dogging every soul or body that might pique appetite or
curiosity—whatever we can garner to testify (terrify)--
then slip our sylph-selves home to dally at the fumaroles
by dawn. Enough! Here’s proof in ink—their skirmishes,
their unvarnished blurts, the scoops on their temptations.
To the wise or the credulous—beware. As our favourite
diva boasts: We lie sweet and well. Like the Truth. Like
Art. Like Hell.
Judith H. Montgomery
Judith H. Montgomery’s poems appear in the Comstock Review, Poet Lore, and Epiphany, among other journals. Her first collection, Passion, received the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her second full-length collection, Litany for Wound and Bloom, appeared in 2018. Her prize-winning narrative medicine chapbook, Mercy, appeared from Wolf Ridge Press in 2019. More recently, her poem “Never” received third place in the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition. Her poetry is fueled by chocolate, and she counteracts rejection by weeding her garden.
The Ekphrastic Review
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