Clare Best

Clare Best: Featured Poet

The surgeon’s album

He turns the pages for me:
full and partial reconstruction, implants,
muscle flaps from back and stomach. Creations
to match and balance. But how would I look
flat? No extras. Straightforward scars.
He frowns at a lop-sided photo.
The absence doubled
? I’ve not done that before.

Twelve months on, he wants
my picture, conforming to house style:
no head, arms at forty-five degrees to clavicle.
I stand anonymous against a stripped pine door,
knots and fissures dark behind my skin —
a knife-thrower’s object, still
until the last blade hangs from the wood.

First published in Canadian Woman Studies/Les Cahiers de la Femme, Volume 28, nos 2,3, Spring 2011


Clare Best has always lived closely with words: she has been a bookbinder, a bookseller and an editor. She currently teaches creative writing at Brighton University and the Open University. Her poems are widely published in journals and anthologies. Treasure Ground (HappenStance, 2009) brings together poems from a residency at Woodlands Organic Farm on the Lincolnshire Fens. Excisions, her first book-length collection, will be published by Waterloo Press in September 2011.