ISSUE SEVENTEEN: My Salty Reels | next poem →

The Weight of Secrets

Jessica Mehta

Secrets weigh a tremendous lot
so you have to be real sure
you can bear the brunt.
And that they’re worth it—like a child
who cries something so fierce
you rock them to quiet, something
like complacency. Heavy burdens
only strengthen tendons, grow
muscles, densify bones so long
before the joints give out. I’ve carried

so many pinky swears they’ve built colonies
on my back. A dowager's hump
of things I’ll never tell, words packed
with a blistering power my tongue
would burn before those syllables
can trickle fire down my chin.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet, novelist, and storyteller. She’s the author of eight books, which includes six collections of poetry: the forthcoming Constellations of My Body, the forthcoming Savagery, as well as Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo. Visit Jessica’s author site at

ISSUE SEVENTEEN: My Salty Reels | next poem →


Arielle Tipa

Lori Moseman Anderson
   life jacket made only of sleeves torn from cloaks

Megan Mealor
   Recurring Daymare

Sáshily Kling
   History of the Hurricane

David Brennan
   no.22 (Whiteout)

Rachel J. Bennett
   Castle bakes casseroles for the masses & ties

Evelína Kolářová
   beef steak

Jessica Mehta
   The Weight of Secrets

J.D. Anthony
   and only through walking do you arrive.