Recipe for an Indian

Selected Poems by Jessica Mehta

Photo by  Fade Qu  on  Unsplash

Photo by Fade Qu on Unsplash

Recipe for an Indian


How much Indian are you? All of it,

red velvet proofs deep in my solar plexus.

Fry bread thighs undercooked, whipped

merengue cheekbone peaks

and a blackened cut of feather

tattoo marinating over childhood

scars, biopsy stitches and mole seasonings

from a life of willing the cake

burning inside to rise, rise, rise.



Dead Don’t Go


The dead don’t go, they burrow

into our bones, worm hungry

to the marrow. I still feel

my father blinking

through my solar plexus, asking

what went wrong. The girl

I left behind to hang

herself, her burst of freckles

spreads malignant across

my caving collarbones. The dead

don’t leave, they decay slow

and organic, looking for a home

that smells something familiar.





Daily, he brings a too-hard

apple to the French doors. Together,

we’ve watched them ripen, the green

drip from the roundness,

give way to the red. I don’t know


if he’s asking permission,

for my blessing, or simply

showing off how goddamned gorgeous

today’s find was. That looks

like a good one, I tell him.

Daily. And my voice breaks

the silence like thunder. Daily,


he brings an offering

to my doorstep, black eyes shining

with no fear threads.

That’s a good one, I tell him,

my words chasing him

with vicious teeth

up the dying, bowing tree.

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Jessica Mehta

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. Jessica is the owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at