Fright Night with My Grandmother
Christopher Shipman

My grandmother told me to close my eyes
when the vampire guy revealed his victim’s tits
to a neighbor from his second-story open window

but then said, okay, okay open them
because he was about to bite her neck
and she didn’t want me to miss it.

My eyes were closed the whole time
but my grandmother was like this about movies.

She would send me to the kitchen for her smokes
that smelled like old black bananas
or for more coffee or graham crackers
then tell me not to peek around the corner.

She would say, smother your head in the pillow
until I say to breathe again.
She always knew what was coming.

When crucial plot points pierced her eyes
as if from a pair of fangs
her voice lunged out and grew wings
and flew over to thump me on the ear.

At nine I must have seen Fright Night ten times
though only the parts my grandmother thought
important or boring enough.

I started to believe I was the young neighbor,
who sees what he likes and something he shouldn’t
and knows there is nothing in between.

I often caught the mysterious pink circle of a nipple
or the pointed tip of a stake
before it plunged through the heart of a vampire,
but never the burnt skin of the master
or his exploding head
after the curtains were drawn at dawn
and all the glass shattered to pieces.

When it was over I was out of breath,
saw yellow streaks spread
through our small living room like lightning.

My grandmother said I shouldn’t
watch movies like that then smiled a smile
that revealed the lightning trapped in her mouth.

When I was older and Fright Night 2 was out,
which had a werewolf in it,
she didn’t bother to tell me to close my eyes
when the vampire guy may or may not
have revealed his victim’s tits
to a neighbor because

she didn’t like that one as much.