How It Begins

By Kate Maxwell

You don’t scare me

with your compliments

the way you stand so close

brush fingertips along forearms

hold my eye too long

softly wind your winning 

smile around tissues in my

optical lobe, so shaken up with 

your motion, form, and shards 

of all your silver words.

Knock me out. I dare you.

Pitbull persistent 

in the scent of intruders

those with careful

knowing aim, affections 

learned, then quickly feigned

I’ve traced undertones of ethanol 

in your sweet, husky scent

a barren hunger in your keto 

breath, searing its hot kiss

across my pale uncherished cheeks. 

Turn off the light. I dare you.

So, you wait 

in dirty shadows, just to

watch, crawling into 

holes or fears unlocked

and all under the guise of good

all to gather what you could of 

any use. Cat-pawed, you now 

creep into the emptiness so long 

accrued, and sucked within my stoic 

cold, seek shelter in my solid hold.

Stay with me. I dare you


Kate Maxwell is yet another teacher with writing aspirations. She’s been published and awarded in Australian and International literary magazines such as Cordite, Hecate, fourW, Meniscus, Blood and Bourbon, and Brilliant Flash Fiction. Kate’s interests include film, wine, and sleeping. Her first poetry anthology will be published with Interactive Publications, Brisbane, in 2021. She can be found online here.

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