The Rose By Jessica C. Mehta

The Rose

I heard my sister sing
before I knew her, years
before we met. Picking through old
cassettes in the front room, the scent
of mold and sweat, my father’s beautiful
handwriting soared like wings
across yellowed masking tape. I didn’t know
an Angela, but I knew
her voice like my own. Smoky
and anxiously wild. For three hours I listened
to her urge “The Rose” into untamed
blossom. My mother stumbled
upon me in tears, destroyed the tape
and slapped my head. I’d be grown
before I held her, heard
her sing again. Now, gone, my memory
replays her voice in my mind, grainy
and clicking like tired tapes do.

By Jessica C. Mehta


Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a poet and novelist, and member of the Cherokee Nation. Jessica is the author of ten books including the forthcoming Savagery, the forthcoming Drag Me Through the Mess, and the forthcoming Drag Me Through the Mess. Previous books include Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo and 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

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