The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

My Mother, the Forest

1My Mother, the Forest, whispers with the owls2 about
the true nature of men. The honesty of murder. The
certainty of death—the necessity of it. 3All day & all
night, She hums about the bones of the red wolves
buried somewhere beneath Her floor,4 the children
She never intended to hold on to.
5My Mother, the Forest, stacks up dozens of years as
though they were axes. There, then, is where some went
& never returned. 6Some dreams & some children She
never intended to hold on to. 7 I carry these slack-necked dreams like infants,8dragging their tiny
breaths between the pines, from one dirt floor to the
next. 9The blxck body of every misshapen thought as
heavy as a face with too many names. 10I carry what’s
left of blxck girls along the familiar path;11a circle
of time. 12Knowing that beneath this consecrated
ground—13beneath the birch trees, next to the pond,
in the wood & under rock—14there is the spoil of blood.
Beneath others’ others—15their lies, the truth—those
that we know16She killed with Her own greedy hands
when She was young & mad.
17My Mother is sick with light—with Her fertile hunger
for a god outside of Herself. 18My Mother, the Forest,
has become a green host to white men who lean out
of rotting pines & pat their tight chests;19who whine
about the loss of equality; who called my sister out
her name; who asked her about: her dogs, her honey,
1985, & the quality of the local game;20who grabbed
their groins & said they liked her gap tooth & knew
where to find her missing daddy;21who whistled ghost
& something about her shame beneath.
22My Mother, the Forest, sings I am all bones with
men dangling from my teeth & the ropes between my
pines, beneath my birch trees. 23They swing around
the path of my neck now & no—I think nothing of
24Don’t worry, child. They god could never save them

This selection comes from the book, HoodWitch, available from Acre Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Tierney Bailey.

From their website ( “Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a queer writer and the Editor-in-Chief of the Austin-based literary journal Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University, and has received fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Tin House, Right of Return USA, and the Vermont Studio Center. Hicks’s debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the Julie Suk Award. Her poems and essays have been featured in or are forthcoming in Adroit, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Huffpost, Longreads, Poetry Daily, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, Slate, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and elsewhere.”

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Currently, Tierney is an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, and a freelance graphic designer. Tierney earned a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Tierney is most easily found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. 

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