Butterfly with Parachute
By Stephen Burt
A real one wouldn't need one,
but the one Nathan draws surely does:
four oblongs the size and color of popsicles,
green apple, toasted coconut and grape,
flanked, two per side, by billowing valentine hearts,
in a frame of Scotch tape.
Alive, it could stay off the floor,
for a few unaerodynamic minutes;
thrown as a paper airplane, for one or two more.
Very sensibly, therefore,
our son gave it something, not to keep it apart
from the ground forever, but rather to make safe its descent.
When we ask that imagination discover the limits
of the real
world only slowly,
maybe this is what we meant.
Paul and I spent the day in Richmond with Cheryl and Lin, first at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which was having a RoseFest with dancers from the Latin Ballet of Virginia and still has Butterflies Live in the conservatory. The weather was magnificent and there are still lots of flowers among the early changing leaves of fall in the garden. We had lunch in the cafeteria there, which we hadn't done before.
Then we went to see Pan, which is a fairly flawed film but has some pleasures (live-action versions of the flying ships from Treasure Planet, Hugh Jackman wearing a flouncy bustle as the gayest pirate since De Niro in Stardust) and some big flaws (on top of the racism of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, the women's roles are pathetic, and the setting isn't traditional for the story so there's just no excuse).
We had dinner at a restaurant called Kitchen 64, where I had a brie and caramelized apple sandwich with raspberry sauce and yes that is as good as it sounds! Afterward we drove back in surprisingly easy traffic (worst slowdown was right near home where some kind of road work was going on) and watched the end of the day's football games, none of which went well for local teams despite overtimes for both the Ravens and Washington.