The Best Poem

Kathleen Gaige's Oracle

My baby girl's cigar box
overflows with tarnished treasure.
Pigeon feathers, ticket stubs,
faded ribbons, slippery stones,
a piece of glass, a pocket watch-
these are the things she tucks away
in the secret space behind her bed;
these are the things she fancies
and cherishes so immaculately,
that I cannot begin to understand.
Most girls, they play with dolls,
or bikes, or bears, or clay-
they want their toys brand-spanking new,
like they see on the commercials.
Such girls are not my baby.
My baby collects "especial things"
that sparkle in the sunlight,
feel like forever between your palms,
make you think of princesses
and castles by the sea.
My baby hoards these riches,
these broken shells and postage stamps,
away from the leeching world
that inexplicably wants her to play
with make-up kits and kitchen sets.
I can already see we will never fight
about which age is the right one
to begin demanding lipstick,
to flaunt thin skirts that skim the thighs,
and heels that cut like diamonds.



George S. Diamond Prizes
Beck Shakespeare Prize

English Prize
The Erskine Prize
Zinzendorf Prize
Beck Oratorial Prizes