“Night” by Chestina Craig

I have been raised to fear my footfalls in the dark

to be a walking skirt

is to sacrifice safety,

sway like an open gate for danger.

but I collect my time

at night, my busy

breath, 11pm on the way home alone

from the party

defiant of some sort of fear,

I do not derobe myself of,

but eat like fuel

 

I have been followed home

like a lost gazelle

been reminded the ways

my collarbone bends for men

can bounce their calls around in the curve of it

it echos back to ask if I am lost

calls me baby, anything but my name.

 

I walk myself home each night,

my own private rebellion

carry a knife

carry darting eyes

runway posture

a fight brewing like strong coffee

 

maybe there is triumph in my body

crossing the threshold

call myself glory

all dressed up for the punches but still

alive tonight

look at all the different shoes we wear

each one carrying us after the speakeasy,

all ready to aim a kick to walk

through the door again

 

holy the pepper spray

unholy the need

holy the bitchface, the snarls,

the way we show our teeth but not to smile

holy my walks home

holy our safety

holy the made it alive texts

holy those who ask for them

 

night is not something you can strip

from the feminine so easily

its soft hands on the moon

don’t you ever wonder about the dew on our cheeks

our eyes glinting cosmic

the nightfall speaks to us

we are not lost

we have been taught to see our way back

by the stars just fine


Chestina Craig lives in Long Beach, CA with her cat. Her work has been published by The Rising Phoenix Review, 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, and sometimes pets sharks and hangs out with octopuses. 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 this fall with Sadie Girl Press.

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