Tag Archives: Kate Maxwell

The Kiss

By Kate Maxwell

Why do they eat so much lipstick?

Apparently, in a lifetime

more than their own weight

consumed in every traffic 

light stop, toilet break 

and corridor waiting.

Often flaked like drought-dried 

mud or just a faint ‘O’ shape

fading into outline.

When I leaned to kiss her

at the door, she tasted 

like musk detergent 

and left me with

a pink tooth-stained smile

and urgency for tissues.


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.

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.

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.

Cacophony

By Kate Maxwell

I still hear words sparking like struck 

flint around your head 

when I come back to your door:

the sharp ones you used 

to wave about like knives

piercing a warm day in hiss

and gasps of deflated trust and cold.

Words, hurled from the quick sting

of memory’s bitter blade 

gouging thick-crudded 

layers of yesterday

or yet another 

failed tomorrow.

You ranted for years, slept with 

sorrow spooned about your back 

until you craved its warm grey

breath upon your neck.

Now, I watch you set your jaw 

to smiling, as you picture-postcard 

us amongst the trees

new family

and white paling fence

but at the edges of that frame

one hand in his, the other 

stabbing nails into your palm.

In the dreary distance, I remember 

your ashen cheeks

sunken dreams

nights of his stinking yellow 

beer, shattered glass

and slamming doors.

Now two lives later

with new husband, painted

house and fresh cut grass

you laugh too loudly. 

It rattles against my ears 

like clatter of tin pans.


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.