Poetry: Selections from Samantha Lee Curran

mitral valve regurgitation
the blood leaks back /into the chambers of my heart /the valves don’t seal properly /they don’t do /what they’re supposed to /because something is damaged /leaving my heart open /just enough to bleed in itself /vulnerable to complications because /it doesn’t close itself off /a literal bleeding heart /and i think that’s absurd /that i live the way my defected heart does /never closing myself /off to loving and feeling /bleeding just enough to /affect me /the doctors said i shouldn’t need treatment /if i am careful /if i take care /of my heart /and listen to its rhythm /and i try my best /but when i reach as deep /as i do its always /a risk /and i can’t protect my heart /the doctors said i shouldn’t need surgery /to correct the complication /but an incision to remove /the ghosts i carry inside it /might stop the palpitations and aches /and i was told that there’s something wrong /with me /that my heart can’t expel /everything because /it needs to hold on /it needs to feel /because something is damaged /and the doctor said i should be fine /if the murmur subsides /and the echo of those i have loved /expires /and i should survive if /i keep an eye on it /if i remain stable and /i don’t put myself through /unnecessary pain /because my heart works a little harder /to pump out the blood that only /falls back in /it works a little harder /to function as normal /and i work a little harder /to keep it from feeling /too much /too acutely /and the doctors said i should be okay /as long as i don’t /lead myself astray

the fish and the scorpion
born under a Pisces moon
during the winter and a rising tide
learnt to love by mimicking the waves
by feeling fiercely then turning away
falsely hoping that all water is the same
learning that sometimes we drown in familiar conditions
you can’t help but bring the fire to every room
while blaming the moths when they get burnt by you
convinced that you’re doing your best
proud of the wounds you wear on your skin
providing the blade for wounds akin that you shy away from
careful not to let them bleed onto you
because then you’d have to face the truth
found yourself amongst a Scorpio spring
and a roaring flood
pretending you couldn’t see your reflection in the water
that you were blinded by the light
the sting reminds you that you were caught
by a kindred spirit drowning in you
and you didn’t have the courage to dive in
in case you were pulled under too
and it’s eating you alive
but you can’t change the ever flowing tide
or the water we were born into

incurably blue
birthed in an adolescent mess
wounded by sorrow and regret
buried beneath time and
the volition to forget
haunted by what’s left unsaid
unearthed what I thought
I hadn’t missed
a lost song that was ours
better sung than to resist
carried in my veins
pulsing like a secret tryst
reborn in desire to exist
blending blood and water
is the mistake of youth
desperate to rip up our roots
like an affliction gone unnoticed
exposed by the sight of you
but I am the cure
and you are incurably blue

mandarin hearts
You always ate the mandarin whole.

Stringy veins, rind and all, savouring each bite.

I liked to tear them apart.

Stick my fingers into them, split right open

to their fleshy bodies until I reach the purest part,

their purest form.

You took me as I was, detached outer layer,

the tough exterior.

I had to get to the tender innards, the vulnerable core.

I couldn’t care less for the exterior,

the casing you envelope yourself in.

Hungry to have the sticky syrup

running down my lips and fingers.

Splattering spots on my gluttonous palms.

You’d tell me that you loved them, and

I would say that I do too.

But I only loved them long enough to stop the hunger.

The perfect fit in my hand until it wasn’t.

I scrap the residual segments

as you continue to consume and relish in what you have,

and I reach for the next.

Samantha Lee Curran is a poet, writer, and award-winning artist living on Dharug and Gundungurraland. She is the author of the poetry collection 'exposure to existence' (Alien Buddha Press, 2023) and her work has been published in several online and in print literary magazines. Samantha was chosen as a Vessels of Love poet for the inaugural City of Sydney poetry event in 2021 and was an Artist in Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in 2023. Her artwork won an award at the Blue Fringe Festival 2023 and Blue Mountains Artfest 2023.



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