Upon Reading Nabokov’s "An Invitation to a Beheading"

I know I know—
Yet there are these
Times when the imaginary
Characters seem to have complexities
Beyond their capabilities,
When the sky
Seems to have shades of meaning
Invisible to the ordinary eye.

That other self says, I know I know—
It is the shadow that throws
My will to live against the wall
And watches it drip off like a smashed
Spider clinging to the web after death;
It is a puffed prison warden who says
To sit still and listen and that soon enoug
It will all be over, justice served.

I must know this; I can feel the cold breath—yet,
The lessons in the book say,
Stand up. Just simply stand up and

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