“Girl” by Chestina Craig

I used to think girl meant pink

meant birthday cake roses wilting for safety & always

use your inside voice but sometimes

it means shout and they will still ignore you

means car key fingers, means take me seriously, never flinch

bitchface. means don’t fucking touch me

knife-in-boot confidence

fingernails and using them means

picking out their dirt, being your own garde

sometimes means you can’t make what they did to you art, you are the art

means impolitely taking rules down

politely saying I’m sorry for your own hurt

means this

isn’t always mine.

sometimes the bravest thing

is to walk down an alley alone, sometimes girl

is synonymous with prey, means hunted, means unafraid

of the dark, afraid of what’s in it. girl means getting used to this

means kiddie pool and peach juice innocence as currency

fake flower sleepovers

strong hand on the back of your neck at the theater

girl just wanted to watch the movie

sometimes girl means cry, means swelling mascara, lipstick

in the darkest shade you can buy, no shame in smearing.

means shame. means always fighting the instinct to shrink

sometimes girl means shrinking, sometimes means fighting

girl always means magic, always means blessing

girl always makes

magic. means this space belongs right here.

girl belongs in magic. means belong,

girl belongs.


Chestina Craig, an intersectional feminist, poet, and scientist in training, lives in Long Beach, CA with her cat. Currently a student at CSULB studying Marine Biology, she spends her free time in the ocean, taking photos, and petting sharks. Her other talents include eating whole pizzas and falling in love with 7pm tangerine sunlight. She hopes to one day only be required to wear gauzy long dresses and dance in the sea.

An earlier draft of “Girl” was published in Kings Zine Volume 1 Issue 1

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