Final Girl by Joe Grillo

A teenager spends her days and nights
as the final girl in a slasher movie. Every summer,
she’s the only camp counselor who leaves the cabin
in one piece. On Halloween, the only babysitter left breathing.

While her friends are smoking weed, having sex,
and getting slaughtered, the final girl sits on the couch
each evening watching TV before the power cuts off.

Lately she wishes she could have a relationship
without dying for it. That she could let her hair down
because she wants to, not because
a giant in a hockey mask is trying to tear it out.

Avenging the dead and saving myself is a drag, she thinks
as she runs up the creaky stairs, a cross-dressing madman
with a chainsaw carving zigzags through the front door.

Tonight, after successfully rigging a gas stove explosion
to incinerate the ghost-faced ripper in blue coveralls
rampaging about the house, she wipes the dried blood
from her forehead and decides it’s time to live.

At dawn her friends rise with the sun, their limbs reattached
and their heads sewn back on. The final girl adjusts
her torn white blouse and buttons it, leaves the top one undone.


Joe Grillo is a senior at Southern Connecticut State University, where he serves as the fiction editor of the undergraduate literary magazine, Folio. His poems have appeared in Lunch Ticket, Extract(s), Negative Suck, and elsewhere.