About the Common Understanding

Why Is an Old Brown Honda Not a Cardboard Box?

An old acquaintance, who’s become someone
I read on facebook, is in love
with his new role of father, and posts
—often and at length—progress notes. I
am, as a non-
parental, fascinated.

He and his son,
and his wife, of course, seem to be hav-
ing a grand time, centered, most-
ly, it would see, around the acqui-
sition of concepts. Lan-
guage, the learning of, facilitated

by literate parents. I keep wan-
ting to ask the kid: how did you learn a glove
is not a hand, or a maple leaf. Why is a nose
a nose and not the key
to an open mouth. When
does the flux of possibility become segregated

into files and folders, one
fitting neatly into the other, slave
to mast-
er? Difference is apparent to the eye;
what makes two things the same—
that aren’t. Mouse, stuffed mouse, animated:

Clearly, Mickey and the python’s
lunch move
to different drums, boast
no apparent similarity.
yet I, you, and the boy human—
but not the talking biped mouse—are all related.