Forced (Un)entry



And The Women Said 

Published in Rattle






Forced (Un)entry

By Kelly Grace Thomas


One day her apartment changed its own locks.

On her garden patio with hand-painted mantras, she struggled in a two-hour key fisted tantrum, until a brassy voice interrupted.  

It’s best you stay on your side, the doorknob explained to her, we have all talked about this.  

You invite in too many rainstorms for hearts, the peephole winked, we can no longer live in your deep ends.

A spiral of break-ins, the kitchen added, shaking its head, with the aftertaste of twisted telephone cords wrapped around each tongue.

There is a Japanese war behind your eyes, the coffee table chimed; we can feel this kamikaze coming.

From the outside she peered in, cheek against window, a scavenger hunt for sympathy.  

Sorry you cannot come in, they said.

The television turned down its volume. The picture frame looked for another memory.

The couch silently searched for stamps between its cushions, hoping maybe it could just leave a note.

The refrigerator, a white nurse with starched standards looked in her eyes, like a Massachusetts winter.

Potato chips for breakfast? It said, with breath-chilled fog.  You are too blind to read your own expiration date.

 Sorry you cannot come in.

But I have loved you all, she said. We have lived in an alter of sea glass; sometimes we cut before we smooth.  

The oven half smiled, your heart has sewed itself into an apron three sizes to small. There is no more fabric to cover these stains.

Sorry you cannot come in.

You promised you would stop having dreams about him, the bed said, with its back turned.

I tried, she said. I tried. 

But thoughts of him have creep into my bones, I cannot move without his memory.

This is exactly why you must go, the lonely writing desk said, we will force you to move on.  

Cops and Robbers

Cops and Robbers

By Kelly Grace Thomas


You and I were always echoing gunshots and high-speed car chases.

Ready to bleed. Ready to run.

Jawed locked kisses, a whispered map of time bomb countdowns.

Tick. Tick.

No one knew who was crashing into who.


I am a detective of want,

collecting the sirens that broke in your eyes.

Dusted my fingerprinted body,

in a trash heap mosaic of shadowed and stained glass clues.

Sometimes at the end of a movie, the bad guy gets away

with a loaded sack of broken hearts, still beating and bruised.

Prayers of purposed pulp.

Swallow bit tongue payback, and dream

one day they will speak something softer than revenge.

In pieces, they are shoved in an armored trunk of a soul,

guarded with by drooling watchdogs,

waiting to show their teeth.


There was no resolution in this finale,

just static screens with canned background music.

A junkyard symphony of broken violins

where no one knew how to credit blame.

Another tick tock of plot and pattern,

backed up freeways with no off ramp.

My memories, fractured lines of dialogue you left me holding

the cut of each syllable, a close up on silence,

live in constant rewrites.

I recast my role, no ones like a whining victim.

Or the dumb blonde who never catches on.


I will get back what you stole.