Two Poems by Ashley Naftule

man is not truly one

i didn’t see myself

until I read Stevenson.

“Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.”

the house I grew up in

had 17 mirrors;

i could only see one of my faces in them.

reading about the


and the


inside him,

i finally saw the back of my


saw the face

of the dark joyless beast

that sleeps beneath my skin,

who’s always waiting for me

to forget about him

so he can come out

and suck all the color out of the world.

my teacher asked us to write

a book report about Stevenson.

I turned in a six page biography

about myself:

every single thing I did

when the coin in my skull landed


instead of


she asked me to write it again: “Stevenson’s book is a work of fiction.”

i pushed those six pages

of rapid cycling back at her: “read it again.”

Dreamhouse Garter

I wore a garter on my right leg for three months

when I was seventeen.

Frilly white with a gold heart hanging off the side.

I caught it by accident at a family friend’s wedding.

The garter flew into my hands

as I walked behind the ladies.

Those drunk bachelorettes tore the garden apart,

hoping to get their hands on it.

Nobody knew that it had chosen me.

When my parents left for the summer,

I shaved off all my body hair.

Sitting in a tiled shower stall,

listening to X’s Wild Gift,

as blood and hair dripped

from disposable orange blades.

I painted my nails black

and wore that garter everywhere,

keeping it close so it would fulfill its promise.

But I never found a Barbie

who appreciated my Ken doll skin.

When the white garter

started turning black,

I buried it in a cigar box

I had painted pink

and let my hair grow back.

Ashley Naftule is a writer & performer from Phoenix, AZ. He's been published in Vice, Phoenix New Times, Ghost City Press, Rinky Dink Press, The Hard Times, Four Chambers Press, The Outline, Under The Radar, The Dark City Mystery Magazine, Invisible Oranges, Aquarium Drunkard, YabYum, and Runt Of The Web. He's a resident playwright and Associate Artistic Director at Space55. His karaoke go-to is Billy Idol's "Eyes Without A Face".

Image by Faylyne, found on Flickr:

#poetry #ashleynaftule

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