I confess I do not believe in Time
says Nabokov. We're strolling (firmly)
in a Swiss bog discussing butterflies
and literature. He loves the first
with a blue passion, but writers — pah!
Derivative art. His is an entomologist’s
eye: yes, he admires lattice wing in flight,
but moreso likes the heft of net, its sweet
whistling swoop and swallow — that one swift bite
of air that gulps the butterfly. Nabokovi
he whispers down the microscope at moths
and several butterflies. Such original genitalia!
And so identified, the specimens are stored
in tins, before being ‘relaxed’ and pinned
and spread and dried again on setting boards
and labelled (Nabokovi!) and placed at last
in drawers (mahogany and glass) that roll
and purr. His is an entomologist’s heart:
he favours classifications. I don’t believe
in Time, he states, yet pins it to the alpine air
in family lines: Applied, Perceptual, Pure.
His theory flutters, won’t be staked. A crimson sun
sinks in the lake. Moths rose. We chat.
This happened, never happened. Is.