A Poem By Kelly Grace Thomas

How the Dollhouse Was Built

I came to the humble water to lie down.
I did what I set out to do.
Now I don’t have to tell you
anything more about it.- Hannah Gamble

And when I say water
I mean my therapist’s couch.
Tell me about
your dollhouse she says.

My hands rest
on my stomach.
I don’t talk
about when they took out the walls.
Try not to remember
the missing front door. Every kitchen: upside down.
The blades of the blender
a bloody crown.
Hunger: a throne
I have always feared.

And your father, she asks.
Always with a hammer
in his hands, I say. His voice: a level.
My mother: spoiling in the kitchen.
At the dinner table I learned
to unbuild myself.
To scrape the want from china.
To know the knees of goodbye.
I pray for shelter
I have no faith in.
Most of me: a locked door.
My heart: a church
no one prays in.

PHOTO CREDIT: Talya Chalef

Kelly Grace Thomas is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and 2016 Fellow for the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. Kelly’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the following journals: Sixth Finch, Muzzle, Rattle, PANK, decomP, Rust + Moth, Crab Creek Review and more.  Her poem the “The Politics of Scent” was named a semifinalist for the Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest. Kelly also works to bring poetry to unserved youth as the Manager of Education and Pedagogy for Get Lit-Words Ignite. She lives in Los Angeles and is working on her debut novel “Only 10,001”. For more of her work, visit www.kellygracethomas.com.

Biography Photo Credit: Tayla Chalef
About the Author /

Christopher Blackman is a poet and educator. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Ohio State University. His poems have been published in the Atlas Review. He was a 2015 teaching fellow with the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Manhattan, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry at Columbia University.


  • Claude Forthomme

    December 15, 2016

    Very moving. I love the house/homely details, it gives a sense of immediacy, of freshness, quite remarkable…And the last 2 lines are striking!

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