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
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
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,
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