by Faylita Hicks
If I am in Albuquerque, it is to borrow
time as a reclaimed silhouette of womxn
singing in my lover’s entryway—a cloud,
heavy—over the headboards. Look I am here
now. An ache gyrating through the artist’s studio
in Houston, jerking on a bear-backed rug, my fat
breasts in my lover’s hands like wet bowls of feathers.
What smokes more than this? I ask while in Denver,
my hips swung around the broken faucet
of my lover’s neck, cradling the strange
howls crawling out of us. My fingers,
little spiders climbing out from tight drains
ask: Is it memory, the terror of touch? I myself,
a sliding scale of do not or but softly, went back—
to Baltimore—with its cocoa butter & warm showers
& flexed heels—looking for an answer. I went back
to El Paso—for its back seats & seasoned bone marrow
& unprotected borders. I went back—to Columbus—
for its butter & cream & I never left Los Angeles,
though I said I would. I went back to Chicago, though I said I wouldn’t,
looking for my panties & my moisturizer & my last layer of skin.
I never left Killeen—with its pump & grunt—though I said I would
& I know this is a problem but the truth is—sometimes I need the discipline.
My lover wants to know where I keep going when I close my eyes. I say
I am in Portland—pray for me. I am in Vegas—do not call.
I am in New York. Please—come get me.
Faylita Hicks (she/her/they) is the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, an organizer with social justice nonprofit Mano Amiga, and a finalist for the 2018 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship and the 2019 Palette Poetry Spotlight Award. Hicks was awarded fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary and Jack Jones Literary Arts. Their work has been nominated for Best of Net and the Pushcart and is published or forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, Longreads, Adroit, Barrelhouse, Linden Avenue, Foglifter, Sundog Lit, The Rumpus, The Cincinnati Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, SLATE Magazine, Huffington Post, Texas Observer, Color Bloq, and others.