I had a sister—it’s hard
to turn a have into a had, snip
off a quarter like split ends.
She used to tell me
I didn’t act Indian. I wanted
to tell her she couldn’t ride
on that brown skin alone.
When she died, I wasn’t there.
After the call ended, when the numbness
kicked in, I let myself
have the cherry popsicle first.
Didn’t make myself
pay penance by choking
down the bad flavors. And I sucked
that cold redness straight
to my center, right to the core.
About the Author
JESSICA (TYNER) MEHTA is a Cherokee poet, novelist, and storyteller. She is the author of five collections of poetry including the forthcoming Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo, as well as a novel, The Wrong Kind of Indian. She has 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.
You can also find her here www.jessicamehta.com.