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  • Writer's pictureLayla Proffitt

Green-Blue Unified

Style: Poem.

Statement: Statement: I wrote this piece to accompany a painting I’d done of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I wanted to comment on the feeling of being watched, of brief and impersonal connections only preserved by a split-second photograph.

there’s a certain type of fate, of improbable probability, of impossible connection,

the kind that comes of realizing a friend of yours from one context knows another from another,

the kind that lights the screen of your phone with the message from a childhood friend long-gone all those years later,

the kind that made me half-heartedly half-seriously joke about my painting that one day:

what if one of the people in it sees it, somehow? is that weird? would that make it wrong?

is it still wrong if they don’t know?

if a stranger painted me, i’d never be angry, or confused. it would feed into my desire:

how am i perceived? what do i look like through your brushstrokes, your sketch?

please, tell me more about myself.

when i walked into that room it felt like i was walking directly into the aquarium tanks,

comforting, a wild green-blue envelope, toned down, unified. i walked away to climb higher.

on the balcony, i looked down at all of the green-blue unified people and thought about it.

how many strangers’ photos have i been the subject of?

what do they think of the girl in their photographs, hunched over, turned away, off guard?

i didn’t know i was being immortalized. i would have posed if you had asked.

do i look good to you?

do i look like i want to?

how can i control somebody else’s perception?

the blurriness, the constancy. how many people pass through this room in a day?

am i in any of their photographs?

do they know that they will live forever as simple rough ghosts of memories on a tiny canvas?

do they know they’re in this poem right now?

do they know that they are the letters and the lines and the spaces?

do they know that they are forever unified blue-green,


in the atmospheric cohesiveness of this aquarium room?



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