Poetry and Prose from the Center for Writers
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by JEFFREY MACLACHLAN
Empty Movie Theater
We've now closed a door that cannot unlock. The four exit signs, exposing a little red, have been swallowed by shadows. Only by reading together can we escape this place. The reel comes undone. The reel comes undone. Our voices must be louder. It's the only way to satisfy them. The reel comes undone. Movie theaters are where shadows come to breed. Their dark tongues roam among discarded kernels and artificial cheese. The screen ripples like a polluted pond, and a severed ponytail skims the surface. Four bubbles rise with the voice-over, "The reel comes undone." The reel comes undone. Read together with the voice-over. Our teeth become wombs. Shadows sprout there as black dots. Unseen hands punch cement splicers in a steady rhythm, and the reel comes undone. Our pleas make a staircase from the screen descend while hordes of film strips strap limbs down.
She told me she was an off-duty stripper after Killian's number three. I could tell by her chainsaw dimple piercing. The villain was overdue to strangle doorknobs and the bartender pumped a Remington. She told me UFO sightings were on the rise in India. The feds know people expect saucers in Nevada and moved Area 51 to Calcutta. That's what the whole Osama operation was about. The villain was a former Team Six whistle-blower, but part of Alien Force now. She replicated the dance he always pestered her for. We all key bumped at exactly the wrong time.
Jeffrey H. MacLachlan also has recent or forthcoming work in The Minnesota Review, Thin Air, Pacific Review, among others. He can be followed on Twitter @jeffmack.