I don’t remember the word he used,
reticu-something. It sounded scientific
and neurological. He was explaining
the reason why we ignore certain things—
the floor beneath our feet, for instance.
So long as it’s doing what it should—
supporting us in a solid way, there’s no
reason to pay it mind. There are other—
well, the sound of the river through the window,
for instance, or the sweet cream of the lover’s
hands—that take precedence. Only so much,
after all, that one can notice at once. So
we disregard what we know—the furniture,
say, in the middle of the night. The way
we can navigate our way through the couch
and the dining room table, the chairs, on our way
to the sink—because we know where they are,
we avoid them. Think of all the details we lose each day—
small bits. Like tonight, I wonder about the pepper.
Is it a vegetable or fruit? And what exactly
determines which is which? I knew, knew once.
This fact replaced, perhaps by the thrill
of seeing my daughter gallumph to the wooden gate
to greet me, or by pleasures unloosened from sleep-
tangled sheets, by pointed tang of red wine vinegar
that sharpens the kitchen air. Just today I was lost
in the gold scent of autumn, in the bliss of the word
desire. Desire. Desire. Hear that zzzzz that revs in the center,
the dipthongal elation of ai! And rrr’s purring dénouement.
Desire. Desire. Is it any wonder I nearly
forgot fourteen peppers on the grill as they blackened
and charred for the roasted red pepper sauce.
That detail too unimportant, glossed, when I
thought of all the ways the day unfolded into miracle—
a honeyed voice, the aspen’s first gold, the thwip of the lids
as the canning jars cooled, the floor staying exactly where it was.