Green Hills Literary Lantern




For those who say I should write of Sherman Alexie’s

alleged sexual misconduct and not of Junot Diaz’s:

hush. Eat what’s on your plate or move

to another table. To those who say I shouldn’t talk

of Indian-ness because I’m just half,

shut up. When you’re old, you’ll know

the knowing of insides

with unmatched casing. (And you’d milk

thick privilege from colostrum

to dryness, too).  For those who say

catcalls and harassment are the same

(#metoo) as rape (We’re all in

this together!), fuck off and fall

crack-boned knee thankful

you can only imagine

the feeling of strange fingers

probing your cervix in familiar halls

while the doorman sleeps. Just as I

don’t know the fall-apart of rape. For you

who say it’s no surprise,

my mother’s death, ask, Is it a good

thing or bad thing she’s gone? Quiet (like her)—

we don’t question the dead,

for their tongues are defenseless,

amongst the first to go in the retort.






Jessica Mehta, born and raised in Oregon and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is the author of over one dozen books. She’s received several writer-in-residency posts around the world, including the Hosking Houses Trust with an appointment at The Shakespeare Birthplace (Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK), Paris Lit Up (Paris, France), the Women’s International Study Center (WISC) Acequia Madre House post (Santa Fe, NM), and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (Nebraska City, NE).

Mehta received a Halcyon Art Labs fellowship in 2018-19 to curate an anthology of poetry by incarcerated and previously incarcerated indigenous women. Learn more at