Kelly Grace Thomas


The sea counts the coast-
line. Bodies erase. Don’t worry.
Your mother will always live
inside the house you built for her.
The earth hatches in salt. Skin the only
ocean you own. When you run
aground the buoys nod a quiet
I know. Omid loves you. A sailboat
can only wait so long for wind.
Anchor the children close.
It is sunrise and you are writing
about the morning after
your sister almost died.
Then your mother. The many ways
the sea tries to take. They say tell me
a story, and you never know
the right way to spill.
This is the one where you
and your father tied
yourselves to dark. Sailed
all night to make it
to Florida. Holding only a memory
of sleep. This was the biggest
goodbye. Your legs still
rock. Now in the mornings
you look at clouds you named
together. How each of you
chose your shape. 

Kelly Grace Thomas is the winner of the 2017 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle, 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 currently a reader for Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She lives in Los Angeles. For more please visit