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
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
every single thing I did
when the coin in my skull landed
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.”
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: https://flic.kr/p/hLiq6e