Wide Mouth, Lips Yelling

in response to the quote:

“the best way to shut a girl up, is to kiss her”


My lips, were not made for

kissing & that alone,

this body’s gateway to vocal chords

& heart murmur & air.

my tongue an ever changing home

this lipstick – a picket fence

& warning sign.


these constellation-carriers of sound

were not solely created to decorate your thumb

in early morning light

or be your crash landing spot,

no matter how elegantly they do it.


this wide mouth with a voice,

with a body here to sing

in off-key vibrato,

worthy of stages,

& diaphragm heavy laughs into the tangerine sun.

this orchestra is river mouth

open book

curved spine

invisible pen.

these lungs are to love you when we are willing

& we do not pay for our voice

& right to fall on ears

by being pretty or palatable


so when you ask why these lips

sit on pedestal, I will tell you

they breathe poems,

speak loud, speak soft

sing in the car, the shower, the street,

put oxygen in every artery,


do not forget that the air I breathe is meant to light fires

that any blood coming from a bite here is intertwined with iron

the last thing stars held before they collapsed upon themselves


& my lips will collapse upon themselves

as much as they need to



Author: Chestina Craig
Email: chestina.craig@gmail.com
Author Bio: Chestina Craig (she/her) lives on the California coast with her cat. Her work has been published by “The Rising Phoenix Review,” “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 degree in Marine Biology, loves to meld science and art, and sometimes pets sharks or hangs out with octopi. 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 October 2017 with Sadie Girl Press.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @chessitry 



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