Faylita Hicks
Bonfire Brides

“The embers of a Thousand Years

Uncovered by the Hand

That fondled them when they were Fire

Will stir and understand—”

                                  -     from Emily Dickinson’s “1383”



Remember when we hurried

         ourselves into the evening’s sacral blaze:


Our coal-covered bridal gowns

         drenched in the long silver


of our mother’s years? Our hearts ceaselessly

         sucking on their stars long dead?


Our laughter pouring out of us

         like a sacrifice to age and weather?


If we had known what lay beyond the gates

         of our hooded child, would we have even left?


Would we have so happily run into the enflamed morning

         with our fists and query and hunger? Should we have stayed?


Sister, do you remember when we wanted god?

         Were all tendril? Sweet-cheeked for heaven?


Do you remember when we were sick with Bible verses and hymns?

         Our mouths overcome with hallelujah?


Our mouths slowly sewn into the crooked neck

         of every sunset? Do you remember the place


where we laid down our child-shapes

         and grew out our hair?


Yours—an unrelenting wave slipped from the bed

         of your precious scalp


down into the looped bone of your back?


Mine—a cacophony of glitter and grease leaping from the barrel

     of my hungry scalp to arrive restlessly around the pillars of my ears?


Do you remember the place where we skipped—

         two girls chasing themselves


across the lake’s green and warm lid

         off into the untested fields


of prairie grass and unchecked verbena?

         The place, remember, where we learned


the dissonant lean of every foot worn

         into the unpaved pathways?


Somewhere outside of Dallas—

         where we skinned our knees


running after pink-fisted kisses

         from suns who, back then, hung a praise


before our names? Where I buried my first dead—

          a bird I found at the lake house?


Where we swore to never be like our mothers

         or our fathers?


Where we swore, under god’s morning light,

         to be more like the comets falling


in our cabins, night after night?

         Do you remember where, together, we came


from a yard full of Jesus?

         Where he was under every wooden plank, every split stone—


always guaranteed to follow us home?


Jesus—we thought we’d have more time.

         Jesus—what happened to time?


I blinked and we were in love—

         then out of love—

then child-shaped again—

                       then not—then the both of us alone. Together.

The both of us crying into the empty

         of our kitchen sinks.

Jesus—how did we get here, again?




Found In Volume 51, No. 04
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  • hicks
Faylita Hicks
About the Author

Faylita Hicks (she/they) is a queer Afro-Latinx activist, writer, and interdisciplinary artist. Born in South Central California and raised in Central Texas, they use their intersectional experiences to advocate for the rights of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people. They are the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry, and a voting member of the Recording Academy. www.FaylitaHicks.com @FaylitaHicks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.