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Two Poems by Chestina Craig



A list of things that I am afraid of that turned into a poem about god

shots, needles, watching any blood leave my body,

watching my body leave my body

people in masks, cannot catch their eyes

their eyes,

men in the dark,

their walking speed,

the sky, airplanes,

a fishless quiet ocean,

not being able to save her,

going out anyway but drowning,

failure, failure, failure,

problems that I cannot fix,

my mother’s raised voice,

I am afraid of becoming my mother,

I am afraid that I could be everything evil she’s called me,

grown a new daughter with mouth,

she’s in the mirror some days,

I fear the mirror,

straying from goodness,

god, god, god.

god I hope they can hear me

every word I milk out of my mouth to scream into nothing

god, I am afraid to go unheard,

I am afraid that I can’t fix everything god.

why is that what I am called to do god?

are you just trauma god?

the shape I’ve become & named maybe human once

why am I not enough for her?

look how you turn a list of fears into a helpless prayer god?

why is it always about something else?

the bible says “do not be afraid” 365 times,

but god I am, every day.

Once I Broke My Arm On My Fourth Grade Mission Field Trip

My mother was a catholic but it's never quite left her bones,

you can see it when her eyes lift

to the sky in the conversations she has with her dead mother

like they have tea in heaven,

everything that has heaved me out it's open mouth has been

a witch, the woman that made me can see

My mother prays like a crooked hand

reaching behind her back,

only can recall the saint of lost things,

which is why I take never being found,

so personally

My father always makes sure I have flares in my car,

& my mother: a keychain blessed by the pope,

& when the metal back of my car

caved in like the bay I love

I did not firework into the sky,

but I did live

& all of my bones a magic porcelain

unbroken

Chestina Craig (she/her) lives in Long Beach, CA with her cat. Her work has been published by The Rising Phoenix Review, Sea Foam Mag, Button Poetry and others. She has presented her work at The Presidents Commission on The Status of Women, The Young Women’s Empowerment Conference, & more. She has a degree in Marine Biology, loves to meld science and art, and sometimes pets sharks or hangs out with octopi. She hopes that one day she will only be required to wear gauzy clothing, study the ocean, and get paid to have too many feelings. Her chapbook “body of water” came out October 2017 with Sadie Girl Press.

Image by Felicia Atkinson, found on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/3N8Rj

#poetry #chestinacraig

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