Kylie Hough

Prognosis Uncertain

This monotony rampant in the suburbs. The constant hum of electric drills and the wringing out of Op Shop cocktail dresses. It isn’t the way I imagined I would go. I light a Red Head and watch it fizzle to black. With my butcher’s knife, I slice and dice my way to the dog park. Someone swing high ahead of me and look back smiling on the upturn. Bring your philosophy and your poetry books. I am an unrealised nobody moulded from midnight. I have the potential of a hand grenade and the attention span of a clown fish. By day I scrub toilets. Boats power past, a tabby meows at a magpie. At night I talk with moving shadows. Who’s there? Oh, it’s you. I act like silence, breathless. To be heard is so close to being loved, it is almost impossible to tell the difference. This is not akin to some field trip to the zoo. No, this is warfare. This is sculpting a tin man with gloved hands. My liver poisoning someone else’s blood. Trevally in a tidal wave. I am two hotels away and freedom looks like walking fully clothed into salted black water. The tunnel of light after the feeding frenzy. A shark shaped shadow slips through the lip of a wave and I dash from the seashore. Surely someone will notice I’m playing at opposites. Somebody maybe wants to dance with me in the dunes.

Diary of a Dead Poet

The kale tastes like cardboard smells and I’m telling you, I’m trying. You stand under a deluge of cold water ripping into you like road spikes because it’s good for your immune system. Or something I can’t put my finger on that jabs like an uppercut to the jaw. I pick Aloe Vera from the garden and smear it on my skin under a pre-midday sun. You spoon magnesium into a plastic glass and watch me swallow until there’s nothing left. But the baby girl, initiated into this patriarchal prison. I don’t tell you about my dream. The one I have where your nervous system shuts down in the middle of the night and despite outside attempts to bring you back to life, you can only watch from your position on the ceiling of Accident and Emergency. Get on with it, you say, and I run around the neighbourhood in circles until I’m stopped by a man who asks me to Cocktails and Dreams. Because it’s a club, Love, and you know you want to. You’re looking down on your fitting body in horror now, two-one-shock, limbs flying, me—smiling. I’m someplace else and I’m telling you, I’m trying. But when you’re already dead, there isn’t much you don’t have to smile about.

No Place Like Home

I have this idea for a story. In it, there are two people. There is you, with your broad chest and your muscled arms. There is me, with my perky breasts and my dimpled smile. It’s a story of high school sweethearts and Disney endings. There is this castle made from yellow bricks set amongst rolling meadows of daisy and clover outside a township that glimmers green and gold. Surrounding the stronghold is a mote filled with angry alligators looking to chomp men who hurt women, children and other domesticated animals. I live in the top chamber on the thirty-fifth floor at the end of a spiral staircase you climb with the force and passion of a steed half your age. There is a white mare I feed oats to in the stable. It necks with a black stallion. The same one you ride into the sunset, me on my white horse galloping beside you. Side by side we journey, toward everything bright lights, white-picket-fences, kinky sex, two-and-a-half-kids, safe jobs, a fixed mortgage, Prozac, bullshit and banter at TGI Fridays, tantrums and track marks, rehab, unemployment, cutbacks, setbacks, climate change, Smirnoff, despair, sex trafficking, glacial melting, and grass-filled-billies smoked Saturday nights which morph into Monday mornings. And it’s lovely. And it’s wonderful. And it’s all we hoped for. Except it’s not. But we don’t mustn’t can’t. Instead, the story ends. Back it up. Reel it in. Edit. On a Sunday morning in Spring, light streams in on a gentle breeze trailing through curtained windows. Blueberry pancakes and freshly squeezed orange juice are served in the super king by adoring, impeccably-behaved, A-grade children with white teeth and sparkling eyes. A kiss, a hug, a dozen lies swallowed.

Kylie Hough writes on Yugambeh land. She was a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction 2018 and long listed in Room Magazine’s 2021 Creative Nonfiction Contest. Kylie received a 2021 CA/ASA Award Mentorship, was a finalist in the 2022 Page Turner Awards, and shortlisted in the 2022 Woollahra Digital Literary Award. Her stories, essays and poems are published in literary journals OyeDrum, Litro Magazine, Posit, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and others.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.