a poem in which I cannot hide from my flaws so I name them publicly

poetry by Chestina Craig

a poem in which I cannot hide from my flaws so I name them publicly

Prompt Credit to Rebecca Kokitus & Kanika Lawton.

I am such a hungry thing, the seventh sin, 

all baby bird but just its mouth, wide open & endless

don’t you know how much I can stomach & want for more

don’t you know about the sinking swamps, the fires how they consume 

have you ever seen my hands not holding 

onto something white knuckled and cracking

like an infant, I forget my own strength 


like an undertaker I bury everything in me that does not shine

& leave it in the backyard to rot 

you will not catch the smell until you get too close 

like all damned fruit I am only sweet in the summer

like all damned fruit, the trees will drop me soon enough 


like any good tree I forget that light needs to hit the ground too

there are two sides to every shadow, the darkness

& the figure in the way

sometimes I am both 


like any good tree I fear the fire, 

even when I am that wild myself.

look at all the circles I can run around my body 

I won’t ever give them up 

like any evergreen in the winter 

I hold all the sap and sick like it birthed me, 

I will not let any of this go,

even if I should

even if I wanted to. 


Chestina Craig

Chestina Craig (she/her) lives in California with her cat. Her work has been published by Crab Fat Magazine, 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 bachelor’s degree in marine biology and sometimes pets sharks or hangs out with octopi. She currently gets paid to kayak with otters & educate others about the joys of the sea. She hopes that one day she will only be required to wear flowy 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. You can find more information at chestinacraig.com. Instagram: @chesseaa  / Twitter @sharksandpoems