Picture Show

by Jessica Lanay Moore


The picture show screen flickered, giving off sparks. White sheets on a line back on the farm, hung up with pink blotches from birth blood that could not get scrubbed enough, this is what she thought about - as the silvery images crackled themselves before her eyes, so wide open, that they watered. It was the ultimate memory she had of the dawn she decided to walk from Perry into Macon. The Douglass Theatre, flat-faced brick building standing brown and squat as a bird was the first theatre she could enter to see a movie in Macon. Why, that was where the world was - that was why she’d come, walking all that way. She had walked for a day down the compact dirt backroads, through the morning frost crenellated on the open arms of supple and giving peach and pecan trees - long, brown and sensuous in the limb, such as she. She scratched at her scalp through pink styrofoamy rollers, her lips curling in as a square of light from the opening door punctuated the matinee screening. She glanced over her blade thin shoulder, giving a twitch of a look. Her eyes rolled about the theatre, mouth open as long tapering cones of light scurried over the velvet draped walls. A figure, stocky and smelling of sweat dressed in a blue uniform approached and flashed his light into her lap, a red wetness rested on her dress fabric that pulled between her thighs. The gravel-cold voice uttered into the empty theatre, “Ma’am, come with me.”


Jessi Lanay, is a poet and a short story writer, the former colors and permeates all writing that I do. In her short stories she prefers to focus on the solitary experiences of women, especially in moments of confusion regarding agency, freedom and at times mental illness. In 2007 and 2008 she was a finalist in the Georgia Writers Festival at Agnes Scott College. She currently lives in the Bronx and works at Poets & Writers.