EHLAYNA NAPOLITANO – “image/imaginary”


if i think of the human form
as poetry
more precisely, or metaphorically, as it happens, occurs,
as art
(think gently upon the nudes, studied),
am i in love with myself?
if you cannot devote yourself
to a minute detail and pontificate, recreate, salivate,
what have you, self-love (!) (?)

if upon taking a lover,
you demand an audience with the body,
whereupon perusal, mad-touch, congressional tension
might experientially explode forth from you,
you stand naked in an art museum,
both exhibit and consumer.

to stand among labor and see it
not as work is a study in cruelty.

do i rise from my bed to see my body in parts?
an out of body experience
to teach me to love its whole.
if i see myself on the edge of ecstasy in a dream,
can (give) (make) love, the versions of me that
echo as i lean and fall?

i only feel sensual when i
feel compelled to stare at myself.
sensuality as a function of
obsessive sense
(sight). how do i
learn to impel the others to my side?
is that radicality
or simple rationality? i’m not sure
there is a line
to separate the two when it comes
to me.

if i can allow myself grotesquerie on the odd months,
the evens will be devoted lovers i
take to bed for refreshing thought-reform and release.
to be studious, one must learn to study.
(an adolescent lesson:
absorbing is not the same
as many other types of information retention.)

(listen,) when i am repeating bad words
that stick, he
uses sense against the cycle.
“a thing you like about yourself:
say it.” (taste.)
i must roll the options in my mouth
and spill one out for him.
i imagine this to be the equivalent
of telling someone to move on to the Romantics
if you’re having a hard time with the Impressionist Era.
(i remember my severed body.)

i have been working at the body
that belongs to me. (touch.)
whatever is missing, i will fill
with the parts of myself that exist
in excess
as recalibration


Ehlayna Napolitano is a writer and editor based in Providence, Rhode Island. She currently freelances as a copy editor and reporter. She has been published in Occulum, Moonchild Magazine, and Hynopomp Magazine. Her chapbook, Penelope in the Morning (tenderness, yea, 2018) was published this year. She is the assistant editor at Dying Dahlia Review. She tweets at @ehlaynanaps and writes at

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