“Sorry. I Can’t Come Into Work Today.”

by Faylita Hicks

Lying in my bed beneath the covers, the hours turn
into pools of years—sans distinction.
If I stay here long enough, still enough,
I can hear the cloud of my own ocean
aching to fill my crowded nook.
The waves of my pulse
easing its way up the sand of my legs,
up the sand of my hands,
into the spring of my neck.
There is still so much of me
I don’t understand. A course
of dilated events, scanned & digitized,
on the back of my eyelids: How did I get here?
How many moons have sifted over me since?
I can only conclude that I am
a room of actual happenings.
I am what little was left
after the fire.
Again, this is no metaphor.
I was a wife & then widowed
& then a window left ajar.
A city—full of evidence.
Every breath—a citizen
I’ve let down.
Too often.

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.