The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

A Tale from the Hood

Undercover, the triggers
of chalk-dusted goons tripped
on the local game of niggas
they was hunting. Caught
everybody off guard.
And these fools thought
it was all just gonna go away.
They canceled the TV crews
& the coroners & the internal
investigations. Told everyone:
Just go home. It’s over. But it
wasn’t over. It’s never over. It
got the traumatized & taunted—
to congress over they forgotten
& call down they ancestors.
Summon up the rooted. Go live.
And boo: They. was. not. ready.

Moon-eaters swarm & hum
under the fluorescent trick
of the busted streetlight
over on Fifth. Swell & flood out
the alley. All of them, hooded
spooks on howl. Apparitions
of chopped tar-dipped diamonds
grinning cement teeth. Their faces
beat jigsaw, their bodies slick
as graffiti—they’ve come back
to get what they’re owed.

B b L l A a C c K k acid bleeding
all over the streets, they drippin’
coagulated cayenne like they is
those girls. Just girls before
the nick & chomp; before the city caught
they bodies; before the city slipped into
they bodies, but now—they flares
of mauve light, rockin’ inflamed chests
& split cherry tongues; they swollen throats
full of fire. They eyes on hot
like ruptured dwarf stars.

Before they were graffiti,
they were boys. Before steel hymns
whispered holes into them,
they were boys. Just boys
before the chop & flip;
before they were separated
bone from rib; before the city
got under they skin for good,
they was boys—but now, they jugs
full of lightning—swirling summer
storms in their smoke-infused cheeks,
pushing havoc up through they filtered lungs
& out through they Gucci pursed lips;
they air colliding with scripture
like Molotov cocktails & brick walls.

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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