by Jessica Mehta
I pulled myself out of the brambles
The same way I flung myself in, coating
The scratches with saliva, ignoring the thorns
Stabbing like satisfying hunger pangs
Into my disappearing flesh.
There was no intervention, no dramatic
Segue into rehab. I enlisted headfirst,
Discharged in shame, sheepish
And dazed from the fights. After a war, soldiers
Can say with pride, I fought for my country,
For peace. But in the aftermath
Of the war with the self, there’s no pride,
No glory. Just the battle scars of a heart
That began to fail, the tissue-fine skin
With no meat to cling to and the knowing
That I can let my body consume itself
While I sit back, the silent, stupid onlooker
And watch the troop’s parade roll by.
About the Author
Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, interdisciplinary artist, multi-award-winning poet, and author of several books. Place, space, and personal ancestry inform much of her work. She’s also the owner of an award-winning small business. MehtaFor is a writing services company that offers pro bono services to Native Americans and indigenous-serving non-profits.