Portrait Of The Only Woman On A Boat By Chestina Craig 

Portrait Of The Only Woman On A Boat

The fishermen are
mostly men,
I am authority figure but not
in charge but mostly
just a figure.
The fishermen
watch me
get dirty with a blood that is not my own
watch me wipe
my hands on my pants
a sticky fingered child coated
in rotting death
the fishermen hand me towels,
are kind, want me
clean & smiling.
Have me crawl into the tiny
cabins of their boats
to fetch the animals,
say I fit
there the best
ask me if I am scared, while I hold
something dying in my hands
& learn about it
I pin the fish as they thrash
which is to say — “I will not
be easy for you”
hoist their heavy
beasts up while they
watch me
grow taller. watch me
like the swimmer that I am,
The fishermen want to take me on their boats,
ask me when I will work
for them. tell me they hunt
mermaids. Tell me they do this
all the time, catch all the best ones.
A hunter is always a hunter
& I look like something the ocean held, slimy with salt
& the mouth I use to protect myself, the fishermen
look at me
like an animal
& they are not wrong.

By Chestina Craig 


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’EPHEMERE Review, Femme Fotale (photography), and others. She has presented her work at The Presidents Commission on The Status of Women, The Young Women’s Empowerment Conference presented by Congressman Allen Lowenthal, The Orange

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