Butterfly Catcher

Tina Cane
In the Sixties
Nabokov switched

from ink to eraser-
topped pencil

on index cards  a box
of cards for Ada  a box

of cards for dreams
whose "curious features"

include "erotic tenderness
and heart-rending enchantment"

in one draft
he traded "stillness and heat"

for "silence, a burning"
                       so picture:

Vladimir seated
at the trunk of a tree

a spring day
at Wellesley  where

he marvels at his students
and their cable-knit socks

the way each elastic
grips without binding

just below
the knee      so exquisite

an application of pressure
that when said sock

is slowly
peeled off

the skin shows
no trace at all

Copyright © 1994 Tina Cane. Used with permission.

Copyright © 1994 Tina Cane. Used with permission.

Tina Cane

Tina Cane

by this poet

poem
               Anna Akhmatova burned
her poems and the light of Madrid was like water

at La Latina luncheonette I ate a cup of chocolate
and a motor oil churro 

every day for a week
recovering

                      ...the cherry bomb alley that was our street
Hotel Chelsea ablaze
poem
I

today
on Sixth Avenue

sports coat-
junkie-man
on the same oldschool
skateboard as ever  ragged

wheels but a beautiful
deck, wood  smooth

as if the plank had
been tumbled in the sea

his right leg
a manic pendulum

skinny-looking
but strong

under thin
jeans  hard to believe

he's still
around

after all