Peter Leight

Knowing

Socrates knew what Plato knew, and Aristotle knew what Socrates knew and also what Plato knew, knowledge is what separates us from those who don’t know anything or don’t know what they’re supposed to. We often spend time thinking about what we know, and I think most people would rather know more than they do, as in: if I had only known, and I’m not disagreeing. Knowledge is a lot better when you actually know something, although I often think we need to pay more attention to the things we don’t know. Of course, it is difficult to get to know a person who doesn’t know you—I’m not hiding anything, just the opposite: telling you everything, not in so many words, I mean we haven’t really discussed it. Sometimes I think oh I don’t know. It’s true, you learn a lot about people from the things they don’t know. I notice you’re still glowing in the dark, standing out against the background like a cameo carved in shell, although it’s not as definite as I remember. When we move closer together it gets harder then it gets easier, it’s important, then it’s not important, I’d love to know more, I’m giving it my full attention—you don’t want to mess with your attention. I’m not ignoring the erosion of trust that isn’t meant to last. Everybody knows what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you, but not knowing something you need to or not knowing enough often leads to misunderstanding or error. Sometimes I ask you what you mean just to hear you say you know what I mean.

 


Peter Leight lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has previously published poems in Paris Review, AGNI, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Matter, and other magazines.

 

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