Melting

By Kate Maxwell

He rolls
like a juice spilling chook 
on a rotisserie, nudging my back 
as I shift further to the mattress edge. 
Touch, a scald on this foul night.

Fitted cotton sheet’s crept loose
like a wilted leaf curling in on itself
and air is thin, itchy with invisible 
midges prickling along damp skin.

Stagnant in unblinking black
night stares through the window
offers nothing but warm, stale breath 
and a brown cockroach. I lay, basting

Stagnant in unblinking black
night stares through the window
offers nothing but warm, stale breath 
and a brown cockroach. I lay, basting

the mouth of night. Balcony tiles 
are cool beneath bare feet as I lean 
into long metal rail, pressing heat 
against it like a lover. Sky throbs

shimmering with electricity, the
distant beat of creature’s wings 
and burning white of fiery stars. 
I fling my soul into the depths of 

that ebony sea. But down on earth 
body still swelters. Dim shadows
on the street, still trees, a wandering 
cat, and two lights on in the apartment 

block across the street. At 3.00 am
maybe students cramming, an old 
lady making tea? But who can sleep 
in this melting city? His rhythmic 

snoring answers as I pick and stumble 
through unlit rooms towards bedroom 
then finally surrender to sheetless 
repose resigned to counting fish.


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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