In the cooled hush of the movie theaters,
the films hum, spinning clockwise,
the only true direction.
The films are never run backwards
by mistake
like when we were
children and there was just
a man, a solitary man
in the booth.
We donít see the muscles
jerk in reverse across
the screen or hear
the chipmunk chatter
of Saturday afternoons.
The projectionist threads us
forward, and we are grown,
still waiting for the sweeping gowns
and the close-ups the show us
the murder weapon Ė
just another cruel trick
that is one day exposed
because we are just too old.
Being adult is the slow
spinning out of what you
canít do anymore.
Or maybe itís the realization
that forward is the only door
that will open
and turning back would be
like searching the wall for a secret panel
and hoping to be breathed back in,

which is why we cringe
when some runaway train
hurtles too quickly
across the screen,
moving towards the final credits,
unstoppable as seconds sliced away
and steady as the slap
of stray film left turning
at the end of a reel.

Francine Witte: is a poet, playwright and fiction writer living in New York City. Her flash fiction has appeared in Doorknobs and BodyPaint, in posse review, slow trains literary journals as well as numerous print journals. Her flash fiction chapbook, The Wind Twirls Everything was published by MuscleHead Press, a division of Boneworld Publishing in Russell, NY. Her poetry chapbook, The Magic in the Streets was published by Owl Creek Press as first prize winner of their chapbook contest. She has received three Pushcart Prize nominations. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont, SUNY Binghamton and Vermont College. She teaches English at Norman Thomas High School in mid-town Manhattan. Please visit her website --

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