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

Biography Photo Credit: Tayla Chalef

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