Ablution by Kate Ellis

I hear the brakes as his bicycle slips into the driveway.
Must’ve been a good one.
The keys puncture our silent house
…once. Twice. Three times…
There you go.
With each thud, each fumbled belt buckle each casting away of clothes as if he was swinging a baseball bat…I wait.
By the time he makes it to me (after the thunderous piss he’s taken in the bathroom and the muffled narration of other evening ablutions) he dominos into our bed.
The fumes emanate from his skin and I.am.intoxicated. I cast my nose about his body. Whisky? Bourbon? And a few early evening beers.
There’s smoke there too. Maybe four of five cigarettes. And he’s been dancing. His body twitches.
I roll his dead weight over to inhale his hair and press my palm to the base of his spine… his shirt having not entirely mopped up the dance floor.
I cup his penis. The only time I can hold it so tenderly without having to tell him it’s admirable.
And then
It shudders
And I am mounted like a tomb stone.
Make that 6 cigarettes.

NB Prompt : Write about something that is abhorrent to you as if your character/ you loves it

Once upon a time, when a submission to a literary journal was accepted, it was requested Kate write a ‘shorter bio please’. Her initial response was in the form of a short poem:


Kate is galvanised by feather finds

smooth, round pebbles stroked by creek beds

and the way rose petals look a little

masticated early morning after a midnight storm.

She knows nature seduces her in this way where

Tinder will never be able.


Whether in her writing or in her work with actors and students, guiding Kate’s practice is the principle that sensory rapture can be cultivated in the everyday. She has worked on Australian Features Judy and Punch & That’s Not Me; her innovative work as a Teacher is currently being recognised by Victoria’s Independent School’s body (ISV) who filmed her teaching practice for a short documentary; and in late 2018 her community project ‘Listening Room’ launched at Abbotsford Convent’s Open Spaces where she also launched her first Chapbook, Yolk. In 2019 she will be facilitating workshops for teachers and students at Victoria’s Arts Learning Festival. When not working Kate can often be found walking in forests or up mountains across the world … or at her local café writing.