Sunday, January 18, 2015

Christopher Shipman

The Movie My Murderer Makes

My murderer has stalked me my entire life. He stood beside the bassinet the day I was brought home from the hospital. There he was again at my first birthday party. My mother must have thought he was a distant cousin she hadn’t seen in years. If you’re thinking this sounds like a scene from a scary movie, I think so, too, and that’s what it would feel like if I could remember, but it was my first birthday, so I don’t. I just imagine a Superman cake with one blue candle stuck in its red chest, and people peering over at what must be the little me, and any one of them my murderer.

The Movie My Murderer Makes

He showed up at my friend’s lake house every summer when I was a kid. He caught the most fish. He held his breath under the water the longest. I swam by. I felt him pinch my leg. Sometimes it felt more like a tickle. I giggled. He hid in the tool shed. He knew I wasn’t afraid unless I was asleep. He held hairspray and a lighter behind his back and snorted. He used to hog the bathroom, too. He hid in the tub. And in the kitchen once I caught him with his face shoved in the fridge, looking for leftover pizza. My friend’s father saw him that time and chased him down the moonlit mossy steps all the way into the moonlit mossy lake. He swam to the other side and disappeared into the night.

The Movie My Murderer Makes

My parents had him over for dinner one night. We had meatloaf and mashed potatoes. He polished off two plates, then washed the dishes. I wanted him to finish my meatloaf so I could have a piece of apple pie, but he just kept repeating, “I already ate, I already ate,” as he backed slowly out of our house, hopped on a tandem bicycle and rode off alone. It was sad. And also like someone was filming the whole thing from the top of the catalpa in our front yard.


These murders first appeared in PANK and will be published in the chapbook The Movie My Murderer Makes forthcoming early 2015 from The Cupboard.

Most recently, Shipman is co-author with Vincent Cellucci of A Ship on the Line (Unlikely Books). Forthcoming work includes a chapbook of short prose pieces, The Movie My Murderer Makes (The Cupboard), and co-authored with Brett Evans, The T. Rex Parade (Lavender Ink). His poems appear in journals such as Cimarron Review, PANK, and Salt Hill, among many others. Shipman lives in New Orleans with his wife and daughter and teaches English literature and creative writing to high school kids.

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