Hass is not a poet who thinks that sex is shocking or abnormal. He thinks it is a normal experience to discuss and puzzle over. So normal, in fact, that he doesn’t distinguish between sexual desire and desire for other things, like blackberries or the past. It’s all part of one big, gooey mess of feelings. He doesn’t want to turn you on, he wants you to pause and think beyond the normal clichés about lust and hormones to find the real source of desire, which may have nothing to do with the act of sex.
Questions About Sex
Does he distinguish sexual desire at all from other kinds of desire?
Would you be offended to know that someone desires you because you remind him/her of his/her childhood?
How does the poem transition from the scene of lovemaking to the speaker’s childhood memory?
Is there such a thing as a "general idea" of sex and desire, or can we only talk about sex in reference to specific things or people we desire?
Chew on This
The poet’s acceptance that desire might have little to do with the desired person is a sign of maturity.
The poet realizes that his comment that his sexual attraction "had little to do with her" is offensive, and he tries to atone for it later in the poem.