I begged the year for intimacy. Dashed down into my sheets
with nothing but the fan on. I begged my knees for oil, to bend
easy guillotine around some neck, maybe cut off the lamp in my belly, 
knock out the dust from my toes, sweep out the tricks webbing up my corneas.
I said give me back my wata and the sleep number started seizing
—put a hump in the hour—but no more. When I finally gave up, I went 
to the mirror for a look-see and found that bitch sucking face
with last winter when I’d come close to the Mojave’s affection
only to float on too quick and too far West. Seeing me she said something 
I can do for you? Shaking my head I let her go on, got me some 
coffee and went back to work feeding myself pretty lyrics and lead.


Copyright © 2023 by Faylita Hicks. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 21, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem reflects what drives us to seek out intimacy—the desire to be seen, felt, and known—even if it is just by ourselves. As a writer, a previously incarcerated person, and an activist, I acutely feel the weight of this carceral nation’s systems and structures on my own ability to feel and experience any degree of pleasure, especially when faced with the day-to-day dangers of being a person with marginalized identities. It is radical for me to care for myself as a whole and complex being in this country, which actively legislates against my right to do so.”
—Faylita Hicks