LADY ODDBALL I've discovered the shortest route between two wants is a scream. Called into life, an undersong of grief, a magpie of magic, the seed of my legend focuses the world. My lips blacken at his mouth, I wipe off those stage kisses in full view of the audience, in the stone of the moment. My heart's beating so loudly I miss my cue, strum the inlet of my jaw-harp, give me back what was mine, I'll eat all my misspoken words. Now that no frontiers remain, I make a fist of myself. I'm equipped with some standard attributes of stardom; I look helpless enough to protect, courageous enough to admire and pretty enough to adore. I should be scared—I've occasionally opened a heart. I'll eat my empire from the inside out, feel this day's violence a victory. NOT YOUR GIRL After a couple of drinks I'll believe anything, that the worst thing I ever did was fuck my best friend's dad, or about the night I got so drunk at my sister's wedding, yelling at every passing man from the midriff of the dance floor, No I don't want to dance with you. My ex has joined the procession, my eviscerators tonsured and waiting their turn. Spine articulated, he tunnels into the harbour of my belly, my abundant anatomy. I've cluttered my life with people who dislike me and continue moving solo through this overture, kisses like puncture wounds, all scraggly wide awake. _____ Ashley-Elizabeth Best is from Cobourg, ON. Her work has been published in Fjords, CV2, The Columbia Review, Berfrois, The Rusty Toque, The Battersea Review, The Puritan, Zouch Magazine, Grist, Ambit Magazine and Poetry Salzburg Review, among other publications. Recently her manuscript, Slow States of Collapse, was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. She lives and writes in Kingston.