Should Whiskey Write a Love Letter Back

by Jessica Mehta

I love whiskey, adore
everything about it. The ritual,
my favorite dense tumbler, the taste
that brings me back to nineteen. All the bad
decisions rolled
up neat as tombstones. I’m here
for the scent of tar still clinging dumb
to vinyl stools. For the dim
and the din only the last bar
in town without a television
can muster. I love it enough to be whole
with one, some nights need it
to fill me all the way up. When the tour guide
in Lynchburg told us,
with the strong stuff,
you hug the amber in your mouth

along your tongue
for six seconds,

it all made sense. My apex
can tame that wandering,
my body the wild
my parents birthed into me, the root
of all my best failures. It asks less
than a winning bull ride,
this feral purring down my throat.

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. She’s been awarded the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Prize in Poetry, and 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 owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement.