"Mountains" by Natasha Sajé + Affogato

Often the books stay open for days, face down, saved on a page that stuck with me, that I need to go back and review, that needs a recipe. I don't pick them up automatically. There are food magazines to peruse and dinner to be made, the dog to walk, the food system to keep up with, laundry to be done, graduation cards to send, and online shopping to be done, among other things. I know we all have our own noise. All good things mostly, but things that train us (for better or worse), to do several tasks at once instead of what poetry requires: to be fully present in the moment, reading the words on the page and letting them sink in like crusty bread sopping up olive oil from the mouth of a bowl.

"The Pear" by Jane Kenyon + Vanilla-Scented Pearsauce

Some poems make things simple, recipe-wise. They list a series of ingredients, practically writing the recipe for you, giving your mind a dish before you even finish reading. In this poem, there is none of that. Instead, a single pear, first in the title, then not again until the last stanza, where it's used as a metaphor for the mind in middle age. I hope this is not what I have to look forward to.