Aglaia, Euphrosyne, Thalia I find them there, no longer young, Though neatly dressed and well preserved: Three sisters in the trinket shop— Polite and helpful, but reserved. They guide me through their small boutique Of jewelry, knickknacks, souvenirs; Of statuettes and china plates; Of teacups, lamps, and chandeliers; Daguerreotypes and candlesticks; Framed engravings, rosaries; Liqueur glasses, beaded shawls; Old postcards from the Tuileries. I wonder at their careful speech— The reticence and cryptic air With which they describe every piece, As chill as penitential prayer. I ask to see the cameos (Mostly profiles carved in shell) And notice, in the crowded case, Un délicat, exceptionnel: Aglaia, Euphrosyne, Thalia veiled in gauzy stuff, On tiptoe as they spin like leaves Swept upwards by a zephyr’s puff. The Charites or Gratiae— Three twirling maids whose dance delights. They follow Aphrodite’s steps And serve as her attendant sprites. So says one sister when I ask— The others smile but seem remote As if they thought how well the jewel Would grace some shell-pink female throat But not their own. No longer theirs The gifts of agile charm and glow. Three sisters in a trinket shop Whose movements are precise and slow Can only keep youth’s girlish dance Preserved within a locked display Where memory might—now and then— Recall a more ungoverned day. Joseph S. Salemi has published five books of poetry, and his poems, translations and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred publications world-wide. He is the editor of the literary magazine Trinacria and writes for Expansive Poetry On-line. He teaches in the Department of Humanities at New York University and in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College.