From the author, Jessica Mehta: “As an indigenous woman and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, much of my work reflects place, space, ancestry, and lineage. Recent accomplishments include the 2020 Birdy Prize by Meadowlark Books (for what will be my 14th book), a 2020 gold award for my poetry collection “Savagery,” and my solo exhibition “emBODY poetry” at Open Signal New Media in Portland, OR. If you’d like to learn more you can find me on Twitter @CherokeeRoseUp, IG @thisCherokeeRose, or check out my author site at http://www.jessicamehta.com for links to books, a documentary on my life and work by Osiyo Television, and much more.
Ashiatsu in the Bedroom
How much do you weigh? Come,
walk on my back. You treat me like a child,
a Thai prostitute, Buddhist monk,
all the above—and I love it,
the sense of precariousness, one slip and I fall
like a delicate vase, already cracked and chipped
with age and mistakes but for now radiating
pure lightness, my white feet pressing firm and lovely
into the creamed brown hide of your back.
One pound less and I’d vanish,
one pound more and you’d crumble.
My worth is weighed in ounces, your wants
by the ton.
A Wednesday Afternoon
Come back home tired from the commute,
your badge forgotten around your neck and slide
into your cushion on the good couch,
the one we picked out together. Let’s watch
the ridiculous people on the ridiculously expensive TV
cook ridiculously exquisite food while we hunker
over hot boxes from Whole Foods and after,
let’s lie in the position every set of lovers calls their own,
your erection pressing tight against your gym shorts,
my head buried deep and hot into the crevice of your torso
and even though my tongue is still too stupid and stumbling,
even after all these years,
all I want to do is tilt my head up and tell you
while you begin to breathe the breath of the sleeping
just how goddamned beautiful you look.
You’re beautiful after the shower, all gingham towels
and weeping curls, your beautiful
feet melting like spilled butter
into the hardwood. For me, your beauty
is the ocean, even the breakers
can’t take me down, let alone
the currents—you’re undiscovered, you’re
most beautiful in the unknowing,
the darkness steeped in what I can’t see,
churning in your beauteous tides, inky
and pulling at my kicking feet.
Beebe Farms: Closed August, 2017
The orchard went last
summer. At the time
I didn’t know the end
was nipping feral
at my ankles. Death makes us
want to fill our bellies, drown
the flashbacks. That’s why
we reach for fucks we won’t
remember and pray for pregnancies
swollen with regrets. When she died,
nostalgia skipped clean
over me straight into the trash.
I wanted nothing, no blouses
to sniff, old trophies to dust or scraps
of handwriting already burned
brand-hot into cortex.
All I wanted
was to leave the dying trees
behind and forget childhood
desire paths overgrown. Brambles
spread like disease on familiar
acres and the brittle limbs
shot upward in prayer—but not once
did I drive by the pastures
or look skyward with cold faith
for anything close to a signal.
From the Editor:
We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.
Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?
The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.
To view the types of work we typically publish, preview or purchase our past issues.