Alice O. Howell   


The Moon in Virgo


                A stillness, a clarity

                   a light in my chamber,

                             whiffs of lavender, space, and rue

of all the ancillary ladies from my childhood

back through New England to the Vestal Virgins

          to a constant intact concern

with chaste white woven ribbons

                   (one hidden of scarlet jaquard!),

          the  ladder of crimping

buttons of pearl, and a demanding gentleness,

          no! respect -  for any anybodys right,

                    even under a shroud of napery,

to claim absolutely nothing.