Chainsaw hats split spinal columns
And heads detach like grapes plucked from the vine and
because this is exactly what they came here to do
the blood spackling the walls, the
like red rain
and still they want more and so he
puts his hat back on and another comes to him and he
sends his hat through the thoracic cavity
of the anonymous challenger
eviscerated, holding his heart in his own hands and the
hat returns for that too
They call it what it is, no words needed to mask
The butchery of brigands like
hat man and
finger blades and
But thankfully the Romans stopped their savagery.
I mean, those were
Same as always – Josh Sippie
He wouldn’t have recognized you, my mom told me
because his brain was broken and he yelled at everyone through misery that
I apparently wouldn’t have wanted to see myself but I
He could barely eat unassisted, he grunted and groaned through the night but
I still would have
The same way he would have liked to see me pitch another game down at the ABC baseball
fields when I couldn’t find the strike zone and he probably thought to himself that his
grandson was no Randy Johnson but he stayed anyway, in the WWII Veteran hat that he
He cheered the same way he always did, with every pitch, believing that I could throw a
strike this time.
That maybe if he cheered enough, he could fix my broken aim and put it back together
again the way he wanted it.
I wanted to see him, the same way I always did, but when you’re young and stupid, a dying
grandparent looks something like a general education course that you’ve already failed
and you lose track of all the times he
took you to the Burger King down the street, or heckled grandma’s science fiction films
with that endearing chuckle that didn’t sound broken at all.
Not like the brain my mom told me he died with
The brain that wouldn’t have recognized me, wouldn’t have remembered me
Wouldn’t have known if I could find the strike zone or not 10 years ago.
I’d have told him I struck out every batter I faced
I’d have told him I was drafted,
put on the mound and threw seven no-hitters while grandma was watching
Bodysnatchers and Pod People
and he’d have believed me because his brain was broken and maybe I could also tell him I’d
been by to visit him earlier
That I’d seen him every week
I’d put the pieces together in a way that looked better than they actually were
The same way they looked before they were broken.
Josh Sippie lives in New York City where he’s the Director of Publishing Guidance at Gotham Writers and an Associate Editor at Uncharted Mag. His writing can be found in journals and anthologies including at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Sledgehammer Lit, Wretched Creations, Hobart, Not Deer, Eerie River, and more. More at joshsippie.com or on Twitter @sippenator101.