Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Faylita Hicks





All It Took to Get to You

The chances are slim that I should come to you—
                                          & I gutted my way through hell to get here

                                            blood begets blood    salt-running earth    as does the gates of women

                                            unpacked unceremoniously    my body, a cannon    in sterilized rooms

                                            hospitals beget wombs     my child, a stone    cracked open in unison:

                                                          two hundred & fifty-five rips   a pillar of salt    every minute

                                                     begets five point two    suffocated potentials    murderers/lovers

                                          every one-thousand souls    we were the same once    /anchors survived

                                                                          every black body    daughters to gorges    survived

                                                   begets the chances that    my child, a weapon    we—even make it

                                                                to this moment    we were the same once    we found love

                                      or became something more   both daughters to machines   we made it out

alive & we gutted our way through hell to get here
                                                               & into each other’s arms


For   the   White   Girl   in   the   Poetry   Workshop   Who   Says   I   Don’t   Belong   Here

i cut out all the parts you wouldn’t like about this. decided to leave only:

the femur.
the fibula.
the thorax.

                      my neck, swiveling skull
                      a clicking vertebrae, the spine
                      or the tail. what is left of it, anyways.

my knees—still bleeding—fresh.
for you, my sweet.

                    the jaw grind. my ground teeth.
                    chatter. chatter. chit. chit.
                    i sleep with too many words in my mouth.

mouth, in.

                   the catcher.
                   the dream—catcher—in my chest.

the left shoe. the wrong foot.

                     the note: read for further instructions.
                     a single tube of bitch. the lipstick, my dear.
                     my ruptured lung. the slinky.

a pastor. green.
a pen like a pink tooth. i wish you ink that bleeds.
a well. blxck & fat.
a hungry thing.

the hand.
                     the Saturn.
                     the binary four.
                     the digitus medius.

for you, my sweet.


Lil’ Mama Gets High

remembers she got a degree in “bitch. please.” minored in proper english but these white folks still don’t know what the fuck she mean when she say:            us restless daughters forage under neon lights for leftover liquor & boy-meat, never pretending perfection, we discuss the cons of your heaven climb concert speakers & swallow full moons. petition deejays with our chocolate-filled hips. make it rain on them. grind the earth & give you gardens. rub our legs together & give you smoke. suck hoodoo down our parched muscle. cough up glitter & gore. sometimes for your amusement but never for your approval. us restless daughters have waned on the idea of separation from our spiritual selves. are no longer your cannibals. are no longer your christians. have gotten into grand discussions about no longer covering up our baartman bodies. have learned to covet our scars. learned to worship the skin we survive in. question the purpose of religion & other nonsense shit like that. believe in the spirit: the measurable force—like light—pushing & pulling between here & whatever comes after. us restless daughters believe in [       ]. curate its space in our homes. seek out our equals. get lit up—talking about transitions & transformations. get lit up—talking about the scientific evidence of good vibes. get lit up—& that’s the problem. we are still wondering how we always manage to end up alone & face down in a pool of gasoline. we have got to love ourselves out here. us restless daughters stone the silence—our black bodies hang from the stars like hot oil under blemished sun. shimmy when everyone else is asleep. dig into ourselves. dig under—blocks & blocks of black bodies—for fresh water. under the side-streets. groan for our broken pipes. our stolen gardens. look for where it all went wrong. dig the ruined parts out. reach inside ourselves because somebody—somebody—has got to fix the goddamned plumbing in here.

Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a black queer writer. She was a finalist in the 2018 PEN American Writing for Justice Fellowship and the 2018 Cosmonauts Avenue Annual Poetry Prize. Her debut book, HoodWitch, is forthcoming in October 2019 with Acre Books. The 2009 Grand Slam Champion of the Austin Poetry Slam and member of the hip-hop collective Grid Squid Entertainment, her poetry and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in Slate, Huffington Post, The Texas Observer, POETRY, Kweli Journal, Cincinnati Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Lunch Ticket, Matador Review, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in creative writing from Sierra Nevada College’s low-residency program and lives in San Marcos, Texas where she is working on her memoir. More from this author →