Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (excerpt)


Preflight Checklist

Two pennies,
gleaming mercury;
a map
sewn into your coat’s lining;
sachets of spring flowers
in your fists
for queens on vacation.

The dirt rolls open—
your flight is boarding.


Do You Have Anything To Declare?


They’ll give you jars to store
your organs in and pat you down
for smuggled memories.

You won’t feel a thing…
even the hook that’ll pull
your brain out your nose
is painless.


Ashley Naftule is a writer & performer from Phoenix, AZ. He’s been published by Phoenix New Times, Dark City Mystery Magazine, Four Chambers Press and Masque & Spectacle. More of his work can be found at