Us & the Water

FOR BROOKE
I half grew up in my childhood friend’s home
we shared every body of water
like a secret
the hot tub, our swimming lessons—
which is to say, how we learned to survive
lifeguard training—which is to say how we learned
to save each other
the ocean—something we are so good at flinging
our bodies into
this the salt womb we share
the song we return to every warm season smelling of sunscreen
& sisters this multitude
me: the crashing at the surface
her: the depth
every undertow, every lung full of brine
we always scatter head first
into the sand or billowing riptide
always pull the other’s hand as hard as the current
march against it like a game
us & the water
know every age we've ever been


CHESTINA CRAIG lives in Long Beach, CA with her cat. Her work has been published in Black Napkin Press, The Rising Phoenix Review, Incandescent Mind, Kings Zine, L’Éphémère Review, Femme Fotale (photography), and others. She has presented her work at The President's Commission on The Status of Women, The Young Women’s Empowerment Conference presented by Congressman Allen Lowenthal, The Orange County Women’s Day Art Market, The CSUF Social Justice Summit, Glassless Minds Open Mic, The Santa Cruz Word Church, and more. She additionally has almost completed a degree in Marine Biology, and has had a lifelong love affair with the ocean and sharks. She hopes that one day she will only be required to wear gauzy clothing, swim in the ocean’s swell, and get paid to have too many feelings.