Laura Kolbe

January 22, 2020 Kolbe Laura


Who eats with a jaw half-cranked with counterweight
of school-play stage, half with the headstone
of a hundred uncles back? It is a brother.
Who glitters in the future of the past, as the boardwalk
still drapes outer space in fishbowl-helmet hussies
and Pontiacs that fly? Brothers shine time thusly.
They carry telephonically the whizz
set going sepia-sonata epoch back.

I have them too, gold and columnar like bears
sculpted by chainsaws, motioning with mitts
drawn from my hands, submerging my jokes
in frequencies of deep and scuttle sea.

When they make out not to know what I am thinking
or plan secret convergence while I sleep,
bar runs or to melt under the spoony planet-light
summer midnights on the family hill, I know
they are figmenting away my known-to-them need.
That their brain’s central snail says wake her
and they hear across the air the coursing in my spleen.
They have me too, little smudge-girl in their eye
like ersatz lash. This is how we speak, in itch
and blinks. Their faces, coasts away, unpeel
raw-bright states of mine like autumn’s first-
sent Christmas card.

When I ride the public bus
from pipe-tone river to the six-lane transit hub,
I see wet sheaves of men in postures once thought
ungenetic to me, baleful shoes and palms etched
in the poundage of their plastic bags.
I laser through it now, this dour little veil.
I know it is my brothers on the bench
behind the pole. I know that any moment
we will go whole family hog, feast together
on fumes of idle, on beams click-unclicked high,
as we foot-cross some dark expanse in step.

Laura Kolbe is a physician in New York. Her poems, essays, and stories have appeared recently in American Poetry Review, Ecotone, Gettysburg Review, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, and Yale Review.