Susan Bradley Smith

Susan Bradley Smith lives mostly in Australia, where she is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Curtin University. She began her writing life as a rock journalist in Sydney and London before becoming a theatre historian. Her most recent books are the poetry collection Beds For All Who Come, and the memoir Friday Forever. In 2013 Susan founded the writing and wellbeing consultancy Milkwood Bibliotherapy, and she is an advocate for Arts and Health. Her favorite things usually involve the ocean and her secret ambition is to swim in every ocean pool in Australia.


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Happy birthday to me on earth: the 50th return

I should be bright green

and lost in space, kissing stars

just to lose my lips,

burning off fifty off-beam

years, but here I am—branded.

Surfing safari just to prove I’m not dead

When you paddle out

there is no end to the lust,

no end to wave’s loose-

lipped pash: there is only you,

this, and your migrating soul.

Sunday drive in September

The street where we once

lived looked warped and weedy, thus

losing its hostage

hold on me, despite its gold-

crusted memories (now dust).


Ballina airport

luggage carousel knows too

well my tired agony:

too much baggage, too many

dreams of tinfoiled surfboards: cracked.

Us watching the kids swim (Hallelujah)

Love like squeaked cotton

becomes us beneath the wild-

fingered trees as we

inhale clouds and worship the

lake which christens our children.


He’s my cousin, he

who turns back boats like old

girlfriends panting on

Facebook or unwanted knocks

on late night doors: red secret.

Us (afterwards)

It’s like reaching through

glass to history to find you

and though I do and

it’s real, perfect, the strangest

thing is that haunt of not was.

Sibling song (morning)

I saw my brother

from my bedroom window, he

was walking his dog

at fiveish after the night’s

rain, along satin ocean.

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