Water Babies by Ashley-Elizabeth Best

Robyn’s swimming, she raises her hand to her face, feels the Oxy spill over the ridges of her veins and into the water. She’s leaving her name in the water, her well-meaning body, finally seeing this for what it is. She dives again at Shelley’s count of three, and they spin side by side in the water so quickly they lose all sense of direction, their bodies failing to orient them up. Robyn opens her eyes in the murky water, sees the brief fear on her sister’s face until Robyn points up. They appear to June as natural water babies, rise just as a heron hunkers down near them in the reeds. She can sense the delicate balance between the sisters, their age difference irrelevant in the wake of their experiences. The wind repeats its reckoning as they walk out of the water, clouds beginning to erase the summer sky.

“Echo” (image via Flickr user Elena Kalis)

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 in the Red River Review, 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.