She began to give me other names,
silverspoon lure hooked to my lip,
I must confuse myself into an answer.

I open to the night, hollow my hunger
to a lean landscape, the air plump with
damp in the backseat of her car.

Sand stippled along the dunes, rainwater
excising the reek of lake weeds, the promise
of distance to make everything new again.

I lack commitment, the desire to linger
in my body longer, the fear of reigniting
my life, this is what it is like to love someone

who never learned to care for themselves.
The ligature clutch of her love, a lush gift,
disgrace is catching, our limbs kindling

for the fire of our lust. My map's misfortune,
conjugate fault lines to province boundaries,
let the years move through you. When we

decide to laugh it is the laugh of the humourless
in a withholding silence. No one wants to love
well anymore, an instinct for failure. My

ambidextrous heart, even getting caught won't
make me sorry. My passion is always dysfunctional,
a negligent crescent of hope.  


 Ashley-Elizabeth Best is from Cobourg, ON. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in CV2, Berfrois, Grist, Ambit Magazine and The Literary Review of Canada. Recently she was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her first book, Slow States of Collapse is forthcoming with ECW Press. She lives and writes in Kingston.