Kelly Grace Thomas


There is not enough
distance between us

and the body. I beg
the women build

an ocean. Turn on tongue
and territory. Bargain

fire. Tease flames into family.
Taunt each island into telling

these stories still-birthed
in our bellies. A century

apologizes for someone else’s
hands. I cradle my grandmother

ghosted into guilt. Can’t forgive
this landscape. I will not kneel

for a man’s affection. Women, keep
this world bloomdizzy.

Teach these teeth
to tender. We are swollen

with tomorrow. It’s time to holy
one another instead. Salt water

saints. Crowned in sea foam.
The blue of each majesty.

They can’t sink us
if we name ourselves



Where No One Says Eating Disorder

When I was young, I pretended
we weren’t sick. Three women.
Three rooms. The body
a dark teacher. My sister studied
evacuation. Tried to expel
it all. Greedy with knowledge
she wouldn’t let the stomach
out-fact her. My mother hoarded
everything inside. Bunkered her body
so no one could leave it
again. I took almost nothing.
My mother changed
the subject when I cried
at each bite. Found a backpack full
of diet pills. Told me I had wasted
my money trying to disappear.

She didn’t know how to heal
the quiet between us.
Starved for food. (Men.)
Attention its own
meal. The small gods
we let control us.
We were so hungry
for anything
to love us back.



Kelly Grace Thomas is the winner of the 2017 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle, a 2018 finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a Best of the Next nominee. BOAT/BURNED, her first full-length collection, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2019. Kelly’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: DIAGRAM, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, Sixth Finch, Muzzle, PANK and more. Kelly currently works to bring poetry to underserved youth as the Manager of Education and Pedagogy for Get Lit-Words Ignite. She is also the co-author of Words Ignite: Explore, Write and Perform, Classic and Spoken Word Poetry (Literary Riot). She is currently a reader for Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She lives in the Bay Area with her fiancé.