Back to Issue Thirty-One

Steel Horses



California’s bois rush their mares by the passenger window
my mama keeps pointing out of, hiking they front wheels up
off the ground, they lean their heavy backs into the hard river
of the road, coaxing gravity to knock or not knock them down.
They roar & skirt through the bloody light, on the backs of stallions
coated in syrupy bows of rain—toxic lime & anarchy’s mandarin—
engine colors slick against the fading fair of all this Century Streets’ grim.
My momma points out the hood. Notes where I was almost buried—
under the sick green porches of the ghetto. Points out the corner
on which my daddy made her my mama & drives silently towards her block
& the pictures I didn’t bother saving. She points out the highlights
for me to remember—where she knew he was man,
where she knew men, where the high school’s lawn used to sprawl—
but I am only half-listening, watching dude next to us jerk
his wheels up into the air, his grill angry in the west coast burn,
wondering if I was somewhere he was going. Was I sitting in a house
somewhere, praying for him to come home or was I wondering
what it felt like to have all that heavy in between my legs? What if
I was heavy between the legs? What would it feel like
to hang my body from a machine—to feel the trickle of time
gaining mass between my skin & shift?



Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a black queer writer and the Editor of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. They are an organizer with social justice group Mano Amiga, a 2019 Lambda Lit Fellow, and a 2019 Jack Jones Literary Arts “Culture, Too” Conference Gender/Sexuality Fellow. They were a finalist for Palette Poetry’s 2019 Spotlight Award, the 2018 PEN American Writing for Justice Fellowship, and the 2018 Cosmonauts Avenue Annual Poetry Prize. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Slate Magazine, Huffington Post, Texas Observer, Poetry, Color Bloq, Kweli Journal, The Rumpus, Cincinnati Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, and others.

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