Kelly Grace Thomas

THE RING-TAILED LEMUR THAT SMELLS THE WORST IS IN CHARGE OF THE ENTIRE GROUP

During face-
the male 
odors himself
to victory.
Rubs himself 
sticky in pheromones
from chest, cock.
Saturates tail 
in perfumefunk. 
Crowns every stink 
to win the girl, lead 
the troop. He flicks, flaunts
with his chatter of stench.
Tries to outrank, outreek, 
until named
king. And why shouldn’t 
he be? And why not throne 
our own biology. 
How many years 
have we wasted 
on apology? The blush
of excuse me. Every fart,
burp and feces, the body’s 
speech. What a triumph
to royal your own musk.


KOALAS ARE ONLY SOCIAL FOR 15 MINUTES A DAY

Hammocked in the forest’s 

high hush. Tucked away from the gnawing

need for approval. Eucalyptus, company 

enough. Don’t need to convince the world 

to keep them.  Koalas would rather sleep, 

then spend energy looking 

for a mate. Koala, 

meaning “no water.” What’s it like 

to be that thirstless? To not crave 

the slow sips of a stranger’s gaze, the want 

to be wanted. To say I’m the only one

worth my time. Invite the satisfaction 

of single. Autonomy, an under-

appreciated view. Alone at night, 

they sit, watch the holy saint

of solitude, sink sunset. Just look at her 

power, how she turns her back 

and the whole sky 

speaks red. 



KELLY GRACE THOMAS is an ocean-obsessed Aries from Jersey, and a self-taught poet, editor, educator and author. She was awarded the 2017 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle, was a 2018 finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, and is a multiple pushcart prize nominee. Her first full-length collection, Boat Burned (YesYes Books), was released in January 2020. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Best New Poets 2019, Los Angeles Review, Redivider, Muzzle, Sixth Finch and more. She’s the Director of Education for Get Lit, the co-author of Words Ignite, and
lives in the Bay Area with her husband Omid.



Read more by Kelly Grace Thomas:

2 poems in The Los Angeles Review
A poem in the Rise Up Review
Author’s website


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