portion of the artwork for Brad Green's poetry
Yet the Sea Is Not Full
Brad Green

into this house horrible with curves. To even move her arm through the
air requires immense effort. Her feet now bare and tucked under, knees
shining in the bodiless light. A small, round table between them. Wine
and cheese perhaps if they tend toward the aristocratic, otherwise
stringy pizza in a box. She’s certain he’ll have the wine regardless.
Her eyes blink and remain closed. She’s nearing the last days of her
youth, after all, and it would be too much to expect a teenage
optimism from her for she’s seen him drunk on the floor, the black
hair on his thighs snarled and grotesque. He assumes that shape more
often now, that chalk outline her father occupied. How long had it
been since she stood nude in front of a window, unashamed in that
yellow square of sun, waiting for him? That light so different than
the blue shade in which she now huddles. Her breasts are like fruit
too long on the counter and she washes her hair every other day in a
cloud of steam, wraps it behind her with a soft, orange wire.


She’s been shrinking for months and he can’t figure out why. He’s
ecstatic with the blue newness of the room, the absence of angles.
Such hard lines predetermine whereas a curve slopes into the unknown.
To see her uncurl causes a hollow bird to flutter in his throat and
it’s that perspective he searches out, but has trouble finding. She
looks best to him off-angle or from behind. He enjoys finding her
unaware, her breath soft, the ligature in her shoulders arced and not
taut. When she doesn’t notice him, his chest unlatches and flows at
the truth in her position as if he’s listening to her pee in the
toilet for the first time. He’s secretly taking Cialis, shearing the
tablets into fourths to swallow every day. His skin is dry and feels
large on him, as if he’s not yet fully into his form. Last week he had
a dream in which she was folded and pressed as a new shirt and they
argued when he tried to pull out the pins. When he walks through a
room, he’s conscious of juts and corners, rarely stubs his toe, is
horrified of bumping into someone. He can’t bear to look at her
full-on. Not anymore. Her face terrifies him with angles.


The curtains that she’s chosen for their new house cast a blue ache
and that light is relentless against her closed eyes. There will be a
moment, sometime later, where night will rise and they’ll become
frantic. They’ll fall upon one another and pant like children tackling
a beach ball. Her eyes will brighten as her mouth apples into a laugh.
He’ll lay his hands upon her so she swells into his palms. But it’ll
be a terrible bliss. Oh God, Oh God, they’ll say, how do we escape this?


If they had it, the cheese will harden and tan on the table. Perhaps
it’ll be the pizza that ghosts out its grease into the cardboard.
Possibility abounds, but still her eyes remain closed. In a room with
no corners, each direction flows back to the source. It’s petrifying
and hopeless. If she refuses to move, she wonders if she’ll regain all
that was lost. Perhaps a breeze irritates the wine to ripple. Perhaps
she opens her eyes to see the red body of wine settle to its natural
state, a placid depth curving into the bottom of the glass the way a
tortoise shell arches over a soft inside. Perhaps she opens her eyes
to him on the floor again, coiled into drunken oblivion. Perhaps she
snaps a chalk line across the room, some straight line to which she
can hold, something closed and known. Perhaps she razors a wound

“All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place whither the rivers go, thither they go again.”
—Ecclesiastes 1:7

I read this verse one night and thought of how rare it is that we’re able to change our lives in a substantive way. There’s a plodding monotony associated with much of existence and it was this inevitable sense of sadness and repetition that prompted the piece. I submitted it as fiction, but it was accepted as poetry and I think it works both ways. A typical narrative propellant like plot wasn’t included and since we often have our lushest thoughts in a quiet, still room, I thought the lyrical and imagist style would help to compel a reader through, plus it was fun to write this way.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 31 | Winter 2011