Violetta, 2000

By Honor Moore b. 1945 Honor Moore
A black satin purse in her right hand,
condoms, spermicide,
her key to the birdcage elevator.
All night, thunder and rain
in a flash of lightning, his hands visible,
leaves of philodendron, a half-moon table.

They talk in near dark, eating from a basket.
She places her hand in his lap,
opens her legs as if God came from her,
fragrance pluming like smoke.
All night, his tongue like a fish
philodendron green smoothing half-light.

Now the bridge is illuminated, twin
arches rising, chalky, incandescent,
light abandoning the dome of sky,
river breathing azure, its surface frazzled,
the moon leaving her scuff marks.
Near the open window, dark of leaves.

Outside at dawn, the sun hidden,
a crow lowering itself on black wings
crosses before windows as gold as Rome.
The telephone, her mouth open.
I can see all the way into you, he says.
Leaves of philodendron pour from the table.

Honor Moore, "Violetta, 2000" from Red Shoes. Copyright © 2005 by Honor Moore. Used by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Source: Red Shoes (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2005)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Honor Moore b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Honor  Moore


Honor Moore is well known for her work as a playwright, memoirist, editor, and poet. She has edited selections of Amy Lowell’s poems, contemporary plays by American women, and poems from Russia, and is the author of several poetry collections, including Memoir and Red Shoes; two memoirs, The White Blackbird: A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent by Her Granddaughter and The Bishop’s Daughter; the play Mourning Pictures; and . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Honor Moore

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.