Ashley-Elizabeth Best: Two Poems


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.



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


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.