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Faylita Hicks
Faylita Hicks’s debut poetry collection, HoodWitch (Acre Books), has been named a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award. They are the Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and a Lead Organizer with social justice nonprofit, Mano Amiga. They are currently working on a memoir-in-essays collection.

The Danger of Desire

Photo courtesy of the author / Getty / Photo illustration by Longreads

Faylita Hicks | Longreads | April 2020 | 28 minutes (7,041 words)

I was late. Even though the album dropped in 2018, I didn’t know about the track until June of the next year. Which was tragic, because the first time I heard Teyana Taylor’s “WTP (Work This Pussy)” — I went off.

The command hit my speaker and I dropped the washrag I had been using to clean the dishes, into the soapy water. Splashing it all over the frail kitchen counter, I leaned forward over the sink. Gripped its metal edge in instinctive obedience, desire trickling through my body electric. Throwing my head back, I left behind the part of my day that had been filled with judges, sheriffs, the DA. I turned the music up, grinding my pelvis to the tempo, shuddering in spasmodic rhythm to twerk.

I wanted to shake out the fear I had carried since that afternoon’s Criminal Justice Committee meeting with the county officials. Forget all about the Black and Brown bodies that slept in a small metal box less than five miles away from me. Swaying from side to side with my eyes closed, I let guiltless memories of pleasure snap neon through me. Let holographic echoes of my past life — the time before I was an activist and after I was a Christian — fill to the brim the dusty corners of my small and empty Central Texas apartment. Hot, I rode the hum that rolled out from my bluetooth speakers, ignoring the sound of my phone vibrating with updates from the group chat about bail. All I wanted was to make my lower back flinch as I rolled my hips and popped to Teyana’s simple instructions — work this pussy, work this pussy, work this pussy.

But I must’ve been too tired. Too tight in the shoulders to flex and hold the pose. Too thick in the thighs now to dip low and pounce back up with ease. Too heavy with the backhanded comments about criminals and “bad decisions.” Too dizzy from the tight, bone-straight lace front that had made me feel more pretty in a room full of white. Too distracted. Too hurt. Too tired. Like trying to shake molasses off of me, I rotated my hips in place. But nothing moved as easily as it used to. My rhythm was off — and it made me wonder. How long had it been since my back was blown out?
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