This body / rush hour accident / a 405 pileup / The human jaw the strongest muscle /machinery / Gridlockjaw/ Traffic jam / At night I clench / like metal against metal /  like animal / wants out / It is sleep /  that tears me apart /a nightriot /my body’s slow turn /against itself /like bulldozer / divorce / the mouth wants to fill potholes / I’m always stuck between here / and the town I live in / The horns long as winter / I check my teeth / like traffic patterns / like something I have to suffer through / thinking this is how I might die / A slip of the wheel / every day deadly / How do we protect a body from itself / There is no insurance / against our own bite


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, 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). Kelly was a 2016 Fellow for the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. She is the founder of FeministWrites, a creative collective that connects and champions feminist voices. She lives in Los Angeles. For more please visit