Synopsis on Drought
Kelly Grace Thomas
Open on a dying state. All sunshine and no rain. Close up on ants in the bathroom, humid, but no bite. No. Open on the lover. Shirt off and grinning.
you know what they’re looking for.
The word of the day: water. No. We open
on a childless woman in the bathtub.
The ants float around her like bubbles
like refugees in a newscaster’s mouth
like the years draining.
Outside her window, other people’s children
or maybe just someone else’s lawn brittle
and brown, a place to park next to dying.
No. There are no cars.
Just a cul-de-sac with rows of boarded up
water fountains. There are no neighbors
Only a city evicted from itself.
We open on the ants everywhere, everywhere
The woman saying:
I can’t live like this
with two extra bedrooms empty and unvacuumed.
Even though here she is safe, at night.
Even though she has many shiny faucets.
Close up on the ants, inside the walls
like gorgeous runaways like machines
built for a world that doesn’t cry. There are too many
ants. Too many legs. Zoom in on two fingers, holding
the thorax, the pressure pinch, like a big rig
like a mountain (yelling back)
I warned you twice.
The human holds an ant.
The earth holds the human.
We Mistake Wine for Blood
The drought circles us both.
I smile: dead
grapes behind my teeth.
His mouth: too soft
My hands: a hillside that can’t remember
rain. I picture California
sliding into the sea.
The whales, dead and addicted
to song. Maybe it’s absent: to think history
unbroken. This cracked soil, my teeth,
all stomped for the next
I raise my glass and say: Okay,
make me blank.
Before memory bends me over.
Before the past ties me
to the bed.
I raise my queen.
Close my eyes.
Drawbridge my legs.
My river is red
with wine. All I can promise
is how to forget.
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. 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 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 is currently a reader for Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She lives in Los Angeles.