Kelly Grace Thomas


I empty the day
like a bottle. Toss, try
and truce this body
mine. Ours. Body,
you, a river, I name
and rename. Last year wobbles
on her soggy bones. Tonight, I spill

for you. Confess my father
was a heavy pour. He raised me
in song. Our family, a vine
still weeping towards sea.
We couldn’t drink
the body out
of us. And isn’t water
another way to say
body? I practice tender
in the mirror. Quiet
my hips, curved
like a quotation mark.
Bless, bless, bless
these elbows
and anxiety. All these bones
and brackets.

Body, I walked to Arkansas
to say I’m sorry
for the distance and the diet
pills. I’m sorry for the silence.
Maybe I just needed to write you
from somewhere new. To thank you,
my quiet parenthesis.
To promise: keep me
and I’ll keep you.
My steady
grammar. Listen,
this rain needs a bed.


Outside my window a crow
circles what it can get.
I’m three nights from love.
Always between here
and home. Six service
stations past self help
stereo hum. Omid
means hope. I’ve never told
a prayer that. Out my car window,

the wheat fields kneel
for water. We learn
landscape. Trapped
inside. Today I read
the most important thing
a father can do
for his children
is love
their mother.
This is not that.
Not the prayer
where I help myself. Not
the prayer where someone
says sunrise and I talk
story. Not the prayer where I know
what to do with silence
besides pass it
on the left. Maybe

one day. For now
I measure the distance
between the men I’ve loved
like a country
still thirsty
for rain.

Kelly Grace Thomas is the author of Boat Burned, released by YesYes Books. Kelly’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Best New Poets 2019, the Los Angeles Review, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, Sixth Finch, Muzzle, DIAGRAM and more. Kelly has received fellowships from Tin House, Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, Kenyon Review Young Writers’ and more. Kelly is the Education and Pedagogy Advisor for Get Lit-Words Ignite, a youth poetry nonprofit. She is the co-author of Words Ignite: Explore, Write and Perform, Classic and Spoken Word Poetry (Literary Riot). Kelly is also a screenwriter and novelist. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Omid.