Doctor says to his student,
she is sexually active, monogamous,
They curve around my bed,
eyes flaming over charts,
trying to remember, it seems,
to be softer. After all, she is human.
Treatments will consist of hormones,
birth control pills. Wait to see if
the mass will reabsorb into the body.
...but the pain. Can it be safe
to take back what cannot work
its own way out.
I am all the angles of this room,
spinning electric, hollow where
the bright bush jumps first.
She dreamed of adhesions,
her body's little vessel
lifting its sails.
The blood present for a month,
a wet oasis. She hitched up her
skirt, traced the bones,
the ice-edged bottom of her
She didn't know her ovaries,
devotion to a calm body
shut like a stone.
HEALTHY HUSBAND, ILL WIFE
After a sore night, and a living kiss,
something about his rough
and the constant washing
made me blanche.
He sands them red
till they look like
The bird-bone grace
in those flightless
rung me out of sleep
to stare hot-eyed
The nurse's response is different
in the morning from what it was
in the night.
I was fixated on her—passion
came as tethered words, like speaking
to a hawk on fire. Her gaze shifted,
and in this moment, this fragile motion,
my tumbled bones snarled forward,
pubic bone thrust as proof.
Her skittering gait lets
me forgive the cold probe,
the knife-creased memories
on her face.
The beast hauled in these veins,
the threat of an intense beauty.
Other poems from this series, "Presenting Complaint" and "Findings," were published in Ditch.
Ashley-Elizabeth Best is from Cobourg, ON, Canada. She was on the poetry shortlist for the 2011 Matrix Litpop Awards and Prism's Poetry Prize 2012. She has poetry appearing, or forthcoming in the Red River Review, In/Words, The Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Prick of the Spindle, Tampa Review, Fox Chase Review, CV2, and Branch Magazine. She has a chapbook forthcoming from Cactus Press in Toronto called Slow States of Collapse.