Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Gone with the Wind

Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Gone with the Wind

Article excerpt

One night in 1940

my granddad slumped in the dark

in the Princess Theatre,

which is not here any more,

to watch Gone With the Wind,

then watch it again,

in the flickering dark.

He was 14.

Later, he would be old.

Later, the lights would come up

for the last time, and he would walk

through the theatre's neon halo

into the dark and the twelve miles home.

The trains would be gone.

The streetcars and buses would be gone.

He would creep through the yard

as dawn flickered through the pines,

which are not there anymore.

It would be Sunday, and he would wait

for the rooster to crow

over the screen door's creaking.

It would be Sunday, and he would pray

for his parents to pass over his sleep

on their way to church, the door

whining closed behind them.

But all that would come later,

after the lights had come up at last

in the room which is not here anymore

where the last train runs again

through the miniature town, past

the old brick courthouse, its clock

creeping past some midnight or noon,

over empty streets and the river

disappearing at the model's edge

the way the Princess would years later,

engulfed in flame, Broad Street flickering

neon and fire, like Atlanta

spilling into the night, and the Princess,

here, in miniature, painted by the flickering

of a model trolley's tiny headlamps

on the tiny corner of 5th and Broad

in this room on the corner

of 5th and Broad where the Princess,

which is not here anymore, used to be,

where he slumps in the room in my mind,

the whole future, the whole Technicolor past

flickering before him, through the dark

which is not here anymore. …

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