Ashley-Elizabeth Best

Aristophanes's Clouds, and Leaving By Train


When we set out, the moon
met us and declared that
she was angry, for she had
suffered dreadful things.

She said that we do not
observe the days correctly,
but confuse them up and down.

        And often, when she
        mourns, we are there


Whiskered light throbs inside the station.

The chiming tunnel, its loud lipped mouth agape.
The rough mirroring of our bodies, a brave illusion.

I've owned the fights, and this is it: Bit his lip as he moved in,
felt tangy heat wrangle my tongue.

The train quivers away, a relentless emptying, relief snugged further in.

Trees approach, claw the windows—a branch's embrace,
the wind in their tusks.

The seasons do not shrug each other off as easily as they used to.
They storm and plunder as if refusing knowledge of their own end.

The fields, roughly handled by the wind, make submissive bows
in unison to the spine of summer's moving dusk.

I rest my head on the trembling window, watch the sky raise its night eye.

In the dark, a field of flowers, ribbed red petals, a globed universe. The
heart of a lion.

Even at this safe distance, a smell of flowers in the air.

ASHLEY-ELIZABETH BEST is from Cobourg, Ontario. She has poetry appearing in The Rusty Toque, Tampa Review, CV2, and Branch Magazine. She recently placed first for poetry in This Magazine's Great Canadian Literary Hunt 2012 and was the poetry runner up for subTerrain Magazine's Lush Literary Awards 2012. She has a chapbook published with Cactus Press called Slow States of Collapse. Currently she lives and writes in Kingston.