Victoria Nordlund

Prophecy at Delphi

Tell to the king that the cavern wall is fallen in decay;
Apollo has no chapel left, no prophesying bay,
No talking stream. The stream is dry that had so much to say. –Pythia

Portrait of Alexandra Levchenko by Konstantin Somov


Sorry, I’m done with this prophecy gig.
Don’t worry–the vapors will still rise
in the navel of the world. They will find a new oracle

and give her my name. She too will perch on a tripod
in a cramped cave. Looking quite official,
she will hold her laurel leaf and disc of water collected

from the sacred spring. Business as usual:
Just another midwife in a white dress birthing
Apollo’s words. This Pythia will also listen to men

call her a frenzied mess. She will accept she is only good
for spewing gibberish over a toxic fissure. She will trust them
as they mold her speech into heroic hexameters.

She will find it funny that Apollo needs her more
in this relationship. That she can’t remember if she ever spoke
any of his truths. That she remains in the ruins

cradling all the answers.


About the writer:
Victoria Nordlund is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her chapbook Binge Watching Winter on Mute will be published in Summer 2019 by Main Street Rag. She is a 2018 Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Gone Lawn, Maudlin House, and other journals.

Image: Portrait of Alexandra Levchenko by Konstantin Somov (1869-1939). Oil on paper laid on canvas. 46 x 38.1 cm. 1934. Public domain.