My heart is completely simple, of one
substance like a mole, a dark heap

of pigment mired in a bland
it doesn’t mind. My mouth

is a promise in a driver’s-side mirror
and adjusts with a button that gives

with a pinkie flick. My feet demurely
callused because I will work and work.

I may as well have had just one organ,
so simple am I, one tube, like a sea sponge

with brine washing my osculum,
crumbing up my fibrous pores. There is nothing

scary, amiss, or unrelatable about me,
who am comme il faut. You’d think

I was a plant, you’d think, No problem!,
getting closer. Nothing to see at all, folks,

though no impediment to lingering
should you choose. What the bleached coral

don’t say: how they drank today’s hot chalice
all themselves. No one put me up to sipping

risk and sitting pretty. What the reefs
don’t tell twirls deep in their two-dozen

thousand fevered genes, similar in number
to the human, though sickened by the sunblocks,

the way you like your skin to take the light
without absorbing one thing. The things

you hear down here. Even the lowing whales
replicating every sunken liner’s final strut,

I let them go on, I am after bigger psychic fish,
I stand before Sancta Simplicitas and let her twitch

my veil and burn my books. I love an idol
who permits a dish of meat at each foot,

the dark flesh and the light, the spectrum
of the hunt. I love a good Doppler effect, am game

to the sluicing vowels and half-heard yodels
moving beyond my sessile place. But you who take

redshift to excess, always eluding, evading,
evaporating, why so wary? You, rounding

a corner like a double-glassed bodega when I
would have settled for heartfelt credit.

I have tried labor and I have tried play. I looked
into a tiny compact and saw the big face

and the tiny sponge. I, prey for dregs
of attention, four drags on a light that’s good,

I know, for a dozen. When I take up your day
and suck it down like a bag tight with helium,

daffy and lung-light, I am not sustained.
I am dying from taking. My gullet

capers like a piccolo. If I could have the whole
of you, the denser thing, pie weight

and plumb line, the vital pith, I think it would
enough me for beyond. You’d hardly notice.

I’d give you back, I promise, to yourself.

Laura Kolbe

Bonjour Vietnam