by James Cihlar
Let’s begin with the ending. From the start, we were obsolete.
Question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Answer:
An old man. In the first episode, progress threatens a woman’s
business. An executive descends from headquarters to shut down
the locomotive that keeps a remote valley alive. The C.F. & W.
Railroad Corporation says that modern is better than antique.
But I loved the birdcage elevator that didn’t work, the bead
portière in Mrs. Bradley’s dining room. Sam Drucker sells
raccoon coats and pearl-button spats at the General Store—
everyone here is an anachronism. The spur line takes us forty
years before we were born. Because we love it so much, the
valley ages in reverse. When the director yells cut, they roll up
the countryside and the actress goes home to her glass mansion
in the hills. For seven seasons the corporation fights the town,
and neither side gains an inch. Kitsch is a mode of reception that
telescopes us into the past. Every episode tells the same story.
Let’s end with the beginning. The woman slowly walks in
silence along the tracks at night, a lantern swinging in her hand.
James Cihlar is the author of the poetry books Rancho
Nostalgia, Undoing, A Conversation with My Imaginary
Daughter, and Metaphysical Bailout. His writing has appeared
in The American Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review,
Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, and Lambda Literary Review.
More information is available on his website.
◄ Home page Apple Valley Review, Fall 2016 Next page ►
Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 11, Number 2
Copyright © 2016
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors