Jessica Mehta

And I Did Eat

 Like any good atheist, all I do is write
 about God. Malum to malus, 
 Eve was the first disorder-
 ly eater. Behold the riches 
 of the body. The fig is no
 fruit gleaming, a crowning
 jewel birthed between folds
 of her hallowed self. Taste the unraveling
 of this inverted flower, filled 
 with male lovers of paper
 nests … tucked 
 stings and crawling hope.
 Blossomed unto openings, 
 they are blind,
 flightless. Incestuous. Desperate. 
 (A burrowing to freedom—pardon
 the egress.) A woman loves
 a woman, starving 
 in traps, sure
 in this undoing. Inter-
 petals open, ripen 
 for my lips.
 What have I done? 
 you beguiled me
 * The opening line is a nod to a letter by Sylvia Plath to “Father Bart” dated 21 November 1962 in which she writes, “I am myself, ironically, an atheist. And like a certain sort of atheist, my poems are God obsessed, priest-obsessed. Full of Marys, Christs and nuns.”
 ** The line “Eve was the first disorder- / ly eater” is inspired by Deprivation and Power by Patricia McEachern in which she writes, “The first woman was the original and quintessential disorderly eater” (pp. 1).  

Jessica Mehta is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and multi-award-winning author. Space, place, and ancestry in post-colonial America inform much of her work. Learn more at