She Was Always So Thirsty
I packed my mom in Tupperware
from the dollar store. She always wanted
to go to the Bahamas, even before
she'd gone to sand—before her bones
could be mistaken for broken
shells. I don't know if it's bad
to divide ashes, leave a slice
of femur in the Caribbean foam,
a chip of coccyx in Oregon waterfalls
gushing like overdue orgasms.
How does a person want to be
after our skin's burned to crisps,
the only organ capable
of holding all our worst messes
together? She never said but I felt
her wailing through my insides
demanding turquoise waters, a cleanse,
a starting over. But then again,
who's surprised? She was always so thirsty.
Pinky Swears and Kitchen Chairs
We were sure we wouldn't live to thirty, to hell
with whether we wanted to or not. Rosalind hung
herself a week after her brother wove
his own noose. Two Catholic funerals
in two weeks was more suffocating
than the sick collecting
above their kicked-out chairs. We all
would have bene twenty-eight,
but Sheri left a decade before, spine snapped
underneath a four-wheeler in a plowed
down field. She should have been in seventh
period with us, but you know how kids are.
The day I turned thirty, I jumped from a groaning bridge
in the jungles of Central America. Village children
clung to the edge with bugged eyes,
flurries of Spanish showered their lips. Somewhere
between feeling nothing
beneath my feet and mouthfuls of regrets,
I knew the cord would snap.
And when it didn't,
I was swarmed with the stinging knowing
that I had been forgotten even by death
and probably for decades.
Jessica (Tyner) Mehta
is a poet and novelist, and member of the Cherokee Nation. Jessica is the author of ten books including the forthcoming "Savagery" and the forthcoming "Drag Me Through the Mess". Previous books include "Constellations of My Body", "Secret—Telling Bones", "Orygun", "What Makes an Always", "The Last Exotic Petting Zoo" and "The Wrong Kind of Indian". She's been awarded numerous poet—in—residencies posts, including positions at Hosking Houses Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford—Upon—Avon, England, Paris Lit Up in France, and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, NM. Jessica is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund in Poetry. She is the owner of a multi—award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement.