“Conversations with Carbon” by Chestina Craig

I ask carbon, what does

it feel like to be backbone?

To have multiple arms?

To be mother

to all of me. Mother

to all of them?


She says, it is an honor

to hold all corners

of existence – an honor

to be skeleton


in everything.

I ask her-

do you not feel stretched too thin?

to never be all together?

She says, what is structure if it cannot spread.

Why do we think together

only means touching?

She tells me,


I know

what it is like to do thankless work,

to be overlooked for gods.


I ask her, what is it like to feed fire?

She says he is a lost

child. Says he only ever wanted to become.

Asks if my skin, has heard him crying

into candles at night


Tells me, this is what it is

like to have your hand

pulled by the sun.

She is the hand, and the sun, and the pulling.


I ask her what is it like to be

ashes. She says


haven’t you ever scattered yourself?


Tells me to watch the leaves

on their way down.

Tells me loss isn’t much different.

Tells me that one day

I too will know.

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.

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/john/


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