Selected Poems by Jessica Mehta

Prix Fixe

We will never know all parts
of each other, how delicious
is that? For us, there’s no dessert
(or maybe it’s served first). Waiters
don’t stalk in the wings, stuff
us with bread or rush to tell
the specials. There will be
no returns to the coat checks, no tip
for the valet. Some plates
still remain in the kitchen, go cold
without us ever knowing. We’ll think
the amuse bouches appetizers,
the entrees far too large for a tasting.
What happens
when all the rules go to hell? If you wear
the wrong jacket or I don’t
curl my hair? Nothing—no stomachs
will growl or blood
sugars fall like tantrums. We will always know
only the choice cuts of one another—just how
delicious is that?

Landmarks Made of Stone

I remember when forty was old, when
I was sure I’d escape the cancer,
when I thought my mother was beautiful. Remember
when the creak of your jacket sang like whales,
your skin soft as whipped butter
and my lips a feral ground
undiscovered? We were kids,
the lot of us, allelomimetic
but thinking we were the first. Nobody
from nowhere had found such fortunes—

quick, bury it again, hands clasped fast,
fingernails clawing through dirt
before the world sees what we’ve found.
Together, we’ll bury our gems,

stash the gold and erect a cairn
only we’ll remember the shapes of. Oval
and smooth, round with river-hewn
edges. And this one,
the jagged one, the one with obsidian
stretch marks in the igneous. This one

we’ll know as ours through the blindness,
the aging, the total
fall-apart of our cocoons.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of four collections of poetry including Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. She’s been awarded the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Prize in Poetry, and 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 owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at

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