Faylita Hicks
Foreign Bodies

You cannot tell me

there is nothing wrong

 

with the weather.

Scientists discovered

 

a new species of blind

flesh-toned fish

 

flushed out from a hole

in the earth of Kurdistan

 

almost an exact year after

a photographer discovered

 

the pronate body of Alan Kurdi

flushed out from a hole

 

in the earth of Turkey

almost four years before

 

a journalist discovered

the pronate bodies of Óscar Ramirez

 

& Angie Valeria

flushed out from a hole

 

in the earth of Texas

this past Sunday.

 

The origins of this

new species of fish

 

are: widely speculated,

essentially unknown

 

but it is clear—

they are proliferating underground.

 

You cannot tell me there is nothing

wrong with the weather.

 

I digested this data & disintegrated

on a molecular level—

 

am now an ironic history of black heat

coaxing out your air & tearing through

 

your defined shape. I have become

the hidden hyphen

 

strangling the ice of your waist

& shredding. There is something wrong

 

with the weather—with my mouth—

a silhouette of mud.

 

I’ve swallowed men for many millennia—am now

a register of cyclical genders, flushing out sex

 

from a queer hole in my body. To say I am unknown

is to say I am in flux—sucking on all the names

 

& waterlogged roots dissoluble

in the hinge of my blackblue skin;

 

both vessel & vision—I have become

a fish

 

& a womxn & ready to die—

a hurricane in the heart. My species survives,

 

our wilted crowns bent at the center

as green wave after green wave

 

swaddles itself around our necks

to bruise deep & distinctive. Listen to us

 

bubble up & scratch our heads

against the open air. Whistle & arc.

 

Awash along the thinning coast are our bodies,

once lost in the sway of the ocean,

 

are ribbon along the white shore of this man’s land.

A flush of color—we have always been

 

going or coming with the tide.

You cannot tell me—there is nothing wrong

 

with the weather. I can feel it in my jaw—

the thirst for copper-tinged sediment & meat

 

fresh from the dying fields. Can’t you feel it?

California can’t stop shaking. What it knows

 

runs back & forth beneath the surface:

a beast of ruin gnawing on our dead;

 

the fires of Paradise chew

through the face of the state,

 

smokes out the menagerie of darkened bodies

that clog its anxious streets with gangs of amen

 

to camp on the floor of this wild. Can’t you feel it?

Greenland is melting. The yellow milk

 

swished from its mouth—out into the ocean—

is enough to feed the world’s hungry

 

with salt & suspended silt. When you turn

from yourselves to see your cities burning—

 

do you not melt? Am I the only one on fire?

Texas is drowning. The flooded borders

 

overcome with waves of helpushelpushelpus

congeals into cement puddles large enough to float

 

& swallow our country of survivors. Are we not

now—all wet? Is my body the only one still gasping for air?

 

You cannot tell me—there is nothing wrong

with the weather.

 

 

Found In Volume 49, No. 04
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Faylita Hicks
About the Author

Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a queer writer and the Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University, and has received fellowships and residencies from Jack Jones Literary Arts, Lambda Literary, Right of Return, Tin House, and the Vermont Studio Center. Hicks's debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry and the Julie Suk Award.