Today my mother sent me a framed picture of her heart,
ladybug stickers in each corner. A chest preparing for new growth.
I’m not sorry anymore that she doesn’t like her life. My poems
are dispirited by her, thick mentions of roadtrips, and landscapes
and pissing into Lay’s Stax canisters while stuck in traffic.
Today is a feeling and this feeling won’t last. My kitchen lights
flicker like I imagine the pulse of my mother’s heart did
on the ultrasound machine.
It’s a day where everything contains the possibility of her,
of the heart she is trying to salvage. Who else would understand
the tease of her punctuated laugh, or decipher an ultrasound image
of a heart, a letter you’re too embarrassed to read twice.
Ashley-Elizabeth Best is a disabled poet and essayist from Kingston, Ontario. Her work can be found in New Welsh Review, CV2, Grain, Ambit Magazine, The Literary Review of Canada, and The Glasgow Review of Books, among others. She was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and her debut collection of poetry, Slow States of Collapse, was published with ECW Press. Best’s chapbook, Alignment, will be published with Rahila’s Ghost Press in summer 2021.