June 1, 2016

Kelly Grace Thomas

AND THE WOMEN SAID

And the women said watch as men call us lottery tickets
watch as they cash register us into gamble into played
out combinations of sweaty bills and pocket want
watch as they lick their lips for that better life
watch as they pout, when we don’t pay out.
When the bling of our breasts don’t make them
Cheshire cat the same. When we got our own debts
that gotta be paid, to mirrors, to mammas, to the way our hearts
traffic light in the closet after we sold ourselves
whole.

And the women said feel the way we became campfire
how we ghost storied into this dangerous beauty.
How them men can’t scrub out our smoke, how our blue learned
to burn slow, standstill like the moment between beggin and maybe.
Feel the way we soil into shovel, how we let ourselves be held even
after a matchbox tongue misspoke of our flames, even after we told flint,
you don’t live here no more. The women said feel how we are not open
fields waiting for their strike. They cannot not bury us
deep, call us things of war and be surprised
when we land mine.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets

[download audio]

__________

Kelly Grace Thomas: “Feminism is about connected and often quiet power; it took me too many years to understand this. Years of an awkward dance between embracing and apologizing for my femininity. When people think of feminism, many things come to mind. For me, it just means evolution, it just means equality, it means I am gonna exercise my right to express myself as eloquently and openly as anyone else. I coach an all-female youth poetry team and try to be a strong model of feminism for them, and for girls to come. I think to be a feminist you have to be both the mirror and the window; my work in poetry seeks to do just that.” (website)