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Battle Scars

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 freedom,

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.

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