Nesting by Jessica Mehta

art by Elena Blanco | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


I have one of you sitting
in my throat like a pigeon.
Dirty birds—

we hate them because they’re like us.
When you ask,
Tell me something, the droppings
are so sticky, dusty white I can’t
choke them out. My voice
has always been stifled,
after all,

it’s far too crowded down there
for us all to sing at once. But know,
scrape by struggle, I’ll tell
you everything with my fingertips.

You’ll find my words scrawled
on paper scraps, your something’s
inked in permanence. They’re loud,
gaudy and nakedly unashamed
in a way my voice could never bear.
So let the bird be, the filthy thing

is cleaner than all of us,
and especially me. What diseases
I’ve waded through, infections I’ve borne
and disgusts I’ve clutched dear
to whoosh across the wild to you.

Jessica Mehta

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of six collections of poetry including the forthcoming Savagery , the forthcoming Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. She’s been awarded 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. Jessica is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund in Poetry. She is the owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at