Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tuesday poem #149 : Ashley-Elizabeth Best : Vieux Carré, New Orleans

It's Spring and the Mississippi writhes like a snake
in a sack, the wind tucking itself into the curves
of my body. I burn alive under the gulf sun, the glacial
swell of my northern thighs melting in the brutal early
morning light.

And I would have wings to practice memorizing every 
street, this city has music nipping at my heels, cocktails-
to-go signs leave me disastered, trying to play sober, to
not touch the art hung around the church yard of St. Louis
Cathedral on Royal St.

A city that sits inside itself and waits. Could I have stemmed
from its ribs? I'm living here in exile of release.

If you want a report of how I've changed, I can't deliver.
I've held the head of an alligator, long dead, teeth still intact
enough to scrape a deep cut like a kiss to the underside
of my wrist. I try to tell it just as it is.

I've gotten away with too much.
Leave nothing untold.

Ashley-Elizabeth Best is from Cobourg, ON. Her work has been published in Fjords, CV2, Berfrois, Grist and Ambit Magazine, among other publications. Recently she was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and published the chapbook Now You Have Many Legs To Stand On with above/ground press. Her first collection of poems, Slow States of Collapse, was published with ECW Press. She lives and writes in Kingston.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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