Laura Kolbe




From what I understand, no field,
or many, each padded body
in his own game reflecting

like koi on the splendor of all,
on the cheek-thin luster of the pool
but also on implied graces                          

of the provinces, sugared mountains
and rippling tracts sending riches
to the closed city of light.

From what I understand,
a choice among phantoms,
sleek heads buoyant, enfenced.


a field of cotton—
as if the moon
had flowered



Not in most iterations dead
or pretend, it seems players must
wince when hit, have carnal

bodies, arms like sweet
potatoes and feet perspiring
light tears as form at gently moving

movies: a cat that finds her way
across Seattle. A wedding
on a steamboat in a drought.

I gather that one likes a player hit.
I gather that one doesn't.
The pool reflects two rippled pains.


as if touching
a boil, willow branches



From what I understand, no field,
a choice among phantoms'
padded bodies that drink water,

blue drink, red drink, taurine,
unless the last upsets
their heart. Phantoms own cars,

arrange annual inspections
replacing fluids, bulbs, blades,
belts, cracked glass. Some hit,

punch, drag, collect fighting dogs,
syringes, women, boats. Reflecting
like koi on the splendor of all.


beat the fulling block,
make me hear it –
temple wife



From what I understand, a game
inside a game. The first throws up
six points when sleek heads

float through certain lines.
Then a lone point strews the face
of a sketched square shovel

yellowing the end of air.
The rules for two points:
obscure as jackdaw breasts.

In the second game, points like stars,
belonging to all who make shapes,
names, wishes on their damp glow.


on a journey through the world
tilling a small field,
back and forth



Across the cheek-thin luster
of the pool, phantoms roving,
keening, doing squats.

They like the movie about the cat.
The wedding one was OK.
They like the blue drink.

They drive cars to quiet places,
hills that close the moon
in pads of rye.

Between gridded marches
they sleep in your pool,
chests huddled on balls of skin.


bleached bones
on my mind, the wind pierces
my body to the heart





Italics: Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), tr. in first instance Robert Hass, elsewhere David Landis Barnhill

Though I'm sure the perceptive error is mine, football has always seemed slightly unreal to me, so the rise of its fantasy counterpart makes for a bizarre double dream. Planar, theatrical, with moments of great stillness—maybe Basho could have shown us what we were playing.