Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
About 10 years ago, Boston Literary Magazine was one of the first magazines to publish any of my work. Prior to the acceptance, I had a few rejections but remained persistent and kept writing and revising, spurred on by editor Robin Stratton’s encouragement. Over the last few years, the magazine was on hiatus, but recently, it returned with a lengthy comeback issue. I’m deeply appreciative that my poem “The First Time I Watched a Friday the 13th” was included. I’ll forever be grateful to BLM for taking a chance on my work years ago, and I’m thrilled to have a new piece in the comeback issue. You can read it here or read it below.
The First Time I Watched a Friday the 13th
My mom kept watch on the sunflower recliner,
her brown eyes peering over pages of a paperback,
while I leaned towards the TV, inserted a VHS—
Friday the 13th Pt. 4.
I ran my hands over the sleeve—
the black holes of Jason’s hockey mask,
the silver knife that gleamed like moonlight
over Camp Crystal Lake.
I clapped at the first appearance of hulking Jason
power walking through the woods, stalking
first victims, camp counselors that guzzled beers,
traded joints back and forth like secret notes.
My mother said nothing about first kills—
a machete to the head, an arrow between the eyes,
the gasps of victims before the camera pulled away
and Jason dragged their bodies to the woods.
It wasn’t until two counselors disrobed,
reached for the buttons of each other’s shorts
that mom rose from her chair, stormed towards the TV,
seized the tape, clicked her tongue in disgust.
For months I searched for the VHS, like goods
thieved from me I wanted to reclaim. I never finished
that scene, the kill that always follows sex in slasher flicks.
My mother, too,was a moral judge,
wanting to shield my eyes from the female form,
from the mysteries of sex a 10-year-old wanted to ask.