Comfortable with the uncomfortable

Samantha Paige (they/them) 

Samantha Paige is a student of several years and a poet of many more. 

Their work examines uncomfortable subjects in a disturbed way, considering the details of mental illness and sexuality with sublime raw imagery. Their first poetry collection, laden with rust, was released in 2017. They have also been published in the Ariel Chart Literary Journal and poetry anthology Love and Catastrophē Poetrē, which will be released in June 2021. 


i don’t know how you live

with your mouth so full.

i’ve never seen you open it

but your cheeks

must be ripping at their seams

from all the pride

you refuse to swallow.

corpse of an artist

see my warm, rancid flesh splash

against summer tide’s white tile.

            watch as i hold my head between my fingers

            and squish as hard as i can.

see the swarm of locusts erupt

from the gape of my mouth,

            a puff of dust from a journal

long shelved, since forgotten.

watch me step on my teeth until the

bottoms of my feet sprout cavities

            and infection kisses the nape

            of my decaying desire.


watch me rot from the inside out.

slip dress

that night,

her lithe fingers

traced the back

of my slip dress,

her lips were

softer than the

promises she knotted

into my curls

as her eyelashes

fluttered against 

my collarbone.


now i see her

ubiquitously –

in the slow current

of the river

and the gentle caress

of the moonlight

and the back

of a slip dress

that sits untouched

in the back

of my wardrobe.

daughter, decayed

i wish i had hugged my mother


then my bile would taste less like gasoline

            and instead burn the embers of

her warmth.

            maybe the thoughts that hang in my throat

would have gone home with her

instead of embedding under my skin

and crawling

            between my rotting teeth.


            my tongue is swollen with promise and

i’m filling with rust again.

asleep / awake

one is soft footprints

across the hazy ocean floor,

            dripping slowly down

rose petal waterfalls,

gentle pastels

drifting into the sky.


the other is

a colour-block painting

against an endless white wall,

being suffocated

by unkempt whispers,

low contrast,

high saturation.


and i still can’t tell

which is which.

out of touch

i’ve really missed my friends since

i tripped off the face of the earth –

            i should have reached for the curls of a memory

            to tug me back to a place where the ground was less gaseous,

but instead i pressed myself against the wind’s strong chest

                                                                        and let her take me.

as my skin blossomed with blisters, gentle blooms on a vine of sickly green veins,

            i heard their voices become one with the clouds,

dissipating into the atmosphere that holds me

                                                                        limp like a puppet without strings

                          being suffocated by distance.

the radiator has been broken for three days 

cradled by the narrowness of my bedroom,

i am hit with waves of loneliness

that slither along each of my bones,

a skeletal frost weeping in its wake. 

i thought the snow would freeze my problems in their fading tracks

but instead i find myself in the cavern of their footprint,

four walls and an open sky that drifts further

when i reach out with the icicles 

of my inquiring fingers.

the sweet smell of warmth tickles my memories

when i close my eyes hard enough i remember

until the cold presses its lips on the back of my neck

and the too-soon-set sun lays the thick quilt of night

            over the empty jam jar

            of another day i couldn’t seize.


i just want to exist quietly for a while,

nestled in the softness of your breath

            (though i’m not yet familiar

            with its warmth or its rhythm).

my nose has been buried in your letters

(which make tiles on my bedroom floor);

they smell like chilly mornings

and the sight of a fresh smile on your lips

in my mind’s hazy eye.

my hands burrow in the dirt of your presence,

enwreathed in life that somersaults off 

the gentle curves of your joy that has oft

lulled me to vivid dreams, rich consequence of

a lifetime of distance held in the palm of six weeks’ time.


tectonic plates shake at the thought of our souls sharing space,

sipping on circumambient joy out of chipped china bowls 

(and the chips, of course, give them character

much like ourselves whose shells

are now far from as intended

but beautifully damaged regardless).

my palm will taste yours; bittersweet apprehension

that sends shockwaves across each bitten fingernail.

            the clock on my tongue reads 5:53

            as i shout goodnight

across the endless moor of isolation.

what my room remembers

she is eight

and her eyes

overflow with wonder

as she watches

her father’s paintbrush

dance across her wall.

she is eleven

and she pulls the flimsy fabric 

over her washboard chest

and stares vacantly

into the vanity mirror,

filled with admiration

but also doubt.

she is fifteen

and her tears

sing me to sleep

as she mourns

the boy whose name

she will forget.

she is eighteen

and she curls her hair

as she sips gently 

on coarse fire

to relieve her shaking nerves.

they are twenty-one

and they are nowhere to be seen.


honey drips off her cheeks

as the sun cradles her head

against the fresh heat of the golden sand,

a soft chorus of the sea’s shed skin.


rosy circles frame the blush across her nose,

softly promising memories

that we will clasp in the locket

of our tart subconscious.


the leaves shout in whispers;

the breeze blesses our union

with a gust of sacred warmth

across our shoulders that are freckled

with the other’s kisses.


the current shines in the softness of her irises,

and i watch my future dance in their mischievous glimmer.

You can find Samantha on Instagram and Twitter.

Enjoying our content? Be sure to check us out on these platforms!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.