Samantha Conlon

the serpent is subtle



peach, pineapple, kiwi




when you leave i don’t watch you go, when you leave i walk across a bridge in a cold european city, when you leave i look at my kitchen and the food left behind, i make a mental list, five kiwis, a tine of herring, a little block of goats cheese, rice cakes, half a packet of feta cheese, a jar of coffee, i eat two of your kiwis and think of all the fruits you have made me try for the first time; peaches, pineapple, kiwi


peaches; we were 18 and 19, we were in my hometown, it was july, i was skinnier, i was wearing blue jeans cut up to my knees and a red tank top that was altered to show off the tattoo on my stomach, old black converse, my then short hair was in a ponytail, we bought a miniature bottle of champagne and drank it by the tower in my town on a thick patch of grass, we only knew each other for eight months, i was a virgin. you had long curly hair, a softer jaw, you were muscular in a way i had never seen or been close to before, all the boys before you were chubby or skinny, i never knew this kind of body, i was proud of you in a very instinctive way. we went to another supermarket where you bought a tray of peaches, we walked to a nearby park which was full of hostile young boys, we lay near a tree, you offered me the fruit, i said ‘i never tasted peaches before’, you put it in my hand, the grass was warm under my back, i bit into it, i liked it, you spread your arm from where you were lying in the shade under a tree, it passed through the shadow and into the sunlight where i was lying, you touched your fingertips off mine


pineapple; we were 19 and 20 and we stood in the kitchen where we lived together, i can’t remember what i was wearing, or how either of us looked then, i just remember it was dark and that depressing yellow light in that depressing yellow kitchen was on, i was unhappy in a way i never had been before, my whole body was tense day and night from the pressure of it, i had no job, no school, i lived with you rent free. you cut the pineapple’s skin off and cut the entire thing into equal pieces which you deposited into a lunchbox, i always admired the way you handled food, you always had sharp knives, you rarely made a mess. you passed me a piece, the juice ran down my fingers and yours, the sweetness made my jaw clench, we were silent, a few feet away the simpsons played on the tv, i had nothing to do, nowhere to go, you weren’t as happy as you used to be i think, we lived that way for a year, i tried lots of different anti depressants, i would faint nearly every time we drank, we drank a lot, pineapple is my favourite fruit


kiwi; we were 22 and 23 and we were standing in the kitchen of an apartment on the sixth floor of a block in a midland city in a northern european country, outside it was overcast and probably snowing lightly, you had just bought kiwis from the supermarket beside my apartment, i was going about making us tea when you asked ‘do you want a kiwi?’, i said ‘yes, i’ve never had one’, you bit into one and i asked ‘why are you eating the skin?’ i’ve never seen anyone do that’, you said ‘some people just don’t like it’, you peeled the skin from a kiwi for me and sliced a bit off in that careful way you do things, you put it toward my mouth, it was sweeter that i expected and it made everything slow. i poured us irish tea and watched you eat the rest of the kiwi, we walked about the kitchen doing things and when you were near me i liked to touch your side or your arm, i liked to look at you and felt excited in mostly a non sexual way, a type of awe and pride, felt excited that five years later our bodies seem to keep getting better, that i could look at you and still feel appreciation, satisfaction. i didn’t watch you leave when you did, the evening of the day you left i ate two of your kiwis, half of the goats cheese and two of your rice cakes. everytime i saw the tin of fish it made me sad, i couldn’t throw it away. in the following three days after your departure i left the apartment for a total of ~1.5 hours, i felt devoted to the silence, i looked through 300 photos of us, i fell asleep




Samantha Conlon is studying for a BA in Fine Art from CCAD, Cork. She runs Bunny Collective, an all female art collective based in the UK and Ireland.


‘peach, pineapple, kiwi’ was previously published in Shabby Doll House.