When we talk of stolen sisters

by Jessica Mehta

we talk of bodies gone to ghost
or given back for goodness—as if

we are

sweets snatched from superettes
discovered post-wash in sticky pockets.

When we think on stolen girls

we imagine                                         
pluckings from roadsides,

flowers wafting honey-sick. Passed ‘round,
stuffed in vases to wilt,
before given back to ground. 

When we hear of stolen daughters

we listen
with colonized minds. Settle
into armchair arguments,
share, shake heads, repeat. 

When we read of stolen women,

 we say,

But it’s not me, my cousin,
my child, my life—not really

(until it is). When they speak 

of taking us 

it’s not an outing, a going,
a coming back ‘round again.
Stolen implies ownership, so

            who then owns these sisters?


Jessica Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet and artist. Her poetry collections Antipodes (New Rivers Press) and When We Talk of Stolen Sisters (Not a Pipe Publishing) are releasing in 2021. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, space, place, and ancestry inform much of her work. You can learn more at www.thischerokeerose.com.

“When we talk of stolen sisters” received an honorable mention for the 2021 Roadrunner Poetry prize.

The Roadrunner Review nominated “When we talk of stolen sisters” for Best of the Net.