Specimens in Resin, Specimens in Cases

Alan Bleakley

As he was setting the insect in resin
He thought he could hear the singular buzz of its flight,
As if the creature had turned up the volume at its death
On a million entrapped wingbeats, clipped
By the resin cooling clear as glass.
The hum of the wingbeats grew stronger.
He eyed the specimen closely, while
Sound poured from the cold round of resin
Into the cases of chloroformed moths
That lined his study, each with its
Eye-patterned wings stretched and its thorax pinned.

Their paper wings seemed to vibrate
At the same frequency as the resin-locked specimen
Until the whole room danced, and he was afloat
And crazed on the common mantra of the entombed insects
Singing through the windows of their wooden cases,
So that he was sure he might some day die of the noise,
Though it was an ecstasy, and amongst
The insects’ tune he scratched a reminder
On paper as thin as the moths’ wings
While he set about another specimen with the chloroform and pins:
That his coffin be lidded with glass the colour of amber.