The losing game
by Sarah Frost

His bed a sea, and you in it not waving but drowning.  He drew the
line for you with the mention of his wife, and then crossed it,
placing his hand on your hip, pulling you toward him.  His eyes were
sea-urchins fastened to your face.  ‘She wants you back, your
estranged wife?’ you asked, and felt him nod into your neck, and
then the stones in your mouth.  What else was there to say.  The
harbour roaring beyond his hotel window and the black midnight
water glistening.  You shivered with cold so he placed a maroon
throw over you, a winding sheet for hope.  You lay there a girl,
shaken awake into an adult’s dream, not knowing what to do.  Sleep
came like a drug but you woke as he did, felt him twitch beneath
your fingers and knew he wanted you.  But still he said ‘I won’t’ and
you were a diver swimming up through the deep, desperate for air
and never reaching it.  Shame burning your lungs, you saved your
tears for the journey home through early morning streets, implacable
city crowds parting to let you pass, and the sun, already hot, branding
itself across your back.


Sarah Frost is thirty-seven years old and a single mother to a five-
year-old boy. She works as an editor for
Juta Legalbrief in
Durban, South Africa.  Frost has completed an MA in English
Literature, and also a module on Creative Writing, through the
University of KwaZulu-Natal.  She has been published in various
South African journals, and also some in the United States.  She is
working toward her first anthology.

On “The losing game”:
I wrote ‘The losing game’ as a cathartic attempt to deal with
personal pain.  I found the prose poem form suited the flowing
swimming-like motion of the protagonist’s metaphorical
attempt to move through despair.  Writing the prose poem felt
empowering for me, as if it gave me a handle on a formless
frightening emotion, and provided a way forward.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 5, Number 2
(Fall 2010)

Copyright © 2010
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.