Posts By: Maggie Su

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IR Online Editors’ Note

 

When we began this project, we wanted to give voice to writers we don’t often see in literary journals. In the hyper-competitive world of literary publishing, emerging, undergraduate writers do not always have the opportunity to gain their first footholds. We wanted to help change that.

Although this is the first semester that we have endeavored on such a project, we have had an overwhelming response. We received hundreds of fiction and poetry submissions from around the globe in a very short of period time, and we have been roundly impressed by the quality of work undergraduates are producing. It is through the tremendous support of Indiana Review, Indiana University faculty, and our fellow students that we were able to have the privilege of reading so many great works and publishing the authors here, and we want to express our gratitude for the opportunity. We hope that literary and academic communities will continue to engage undergraduates in all facets of this important work, and we hope you enjoy the pieces in this edition as much as we do.

 

Fiction Committee Chair

Megan Riner

 

Fiction Committee

Allison Brown

Rachel Hammond

Brigid Phillips

Cara Trent

Lauren Weidenger

 

Poetry Committee Chair

Silas Coghill

 

Poetry Committee

Joe Aronson

Kate Bruni

Mackenzie Clinger

Caroline Hewitt

 

Social Media and Marketing Committee

Laresa Lund

Cassie Rocks

Torie Schumacher

Kayla Sermershein

Claire Turner

 

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IR Online Poetry: “Mary Kay” by Meritt Rey Salathe

“Mary Kay”

by Meritt Rey Salathe

Silly
sycophants
vogue gauntly in the neon light of dive
bars. Suck heavy air like
dying carps. Door cracks varnished; slice

of night
light breaking
wildly through alleyways and steampunk
streets. Pink Chardonnay lick
me. Kiss me. Have me. Drain me. Leave

helpless
up twenty
flights, or drowsy at the wheel. This
blush Pontiac Vibe has
Four Cylinder Engines and 16”

Steel Wheels
With Bolt on
Covers. Electronic Cruise Control
and 6-way Front Driver
Seat Command. Driver/Front Passenger

Airbags,
fortunate
if un-punctured. Glorious vessel
of saleswomanship, fly
us heavenward on foundation

sponge wings.
Taste me sun
and body. Smear me like a turquoise
shade. Smack a flush
onto my hollow cheeks. Rev me.

***

Meritt Rey Salathe studies English at Whitman College and is currently writing a poetry thesis. Her favorite poets include Craig Arnold, for his complicated juxtaposition of the inanimate and sensual, and Marianne Moore, for her brilliant syllabics. In her free time Meritt practices mixology and leads quarterlife, a punchy student-run publication.

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Online Feature: “Sometimes You Break Their Hearts, Sometimes They Break Yours” by Marie-Helene Bertino

 

I am like everyone else: good at some things, bad at others. I am good at eating clementines. I am bad at drawing straight lines. I am good at drinking coffee. I would be bad at building a house. If someone asked me to build them a house, I would have to say no. Or I would say yes and worry they would not like the house I built. Why is the kitchen made of coffee filters, they’d say? Why are there no floors? And I’d say, I wish you hadn’t asked me to build you a house.

I am bad at telling stories. For example, this one is about Christmas lights and here is the first time I’m mentioning them. A person who knew how to tell a story would start with, This is a story about Christmas lights I finally got around to putting up last night and the miracle that happened afterward. You know how it is at a party when someone tells an absolute gripper that juggles different characters and lands on a memorable line and everyone holds their stomachs and looks at each other in shocked amazement, a line people repeat on car rides home so they can laugh again? I am not that person. I am the one asking the host what kind of cheese it is I’m eating.

The name of the planet I’m from does not have an English equivalent. Roughly, it sounds like a cricket hopping onto a plate of rice. I am here to take notes on human beings. I fax them back to my superiors. We have fax machines on Planet Cricket Rice. They are quaint, retro things, like vintage ice cube trays. Read more…

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Online Feature: “One More Artificial Organ” by Kate Birch

I

On a bookshelf next to my mother’s bed there was a prototype of the Jarvik 7 artificial heart. Sometimes when she was downstairs fixing dinner or folding laundry I would sit on her carpeted floor and tear that heart apart with a defiant rip of Velcro, balancing the meshy chambers in my upturned palms before I pieced them back together. Afterwards, I’d place the heart back inside its dusty outline and move on, shuffling through her dresser drawers, hungry for secrets.

In the bedside table there was a pack of Trojan condoms covered by a drawing that my father sketched of my mother’s “lovely foot” and under that was the perpetual calendar whose thin metal wheel I could spin like a fortune teller, predicting the future.

Read more…

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Online Feature: “When All of My Cousins Are Married” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

 

I read books about marriage customs in India,
trying to remember that I am above words like
arranged, dowry, Engineer. On page 28, it says to show

approval and happiness for the new couple, throw
dead-crispy spiders instead of rice or birdseed.
Female relatives will brush the corners of closets

for months, swipe under kitchen sinks with a dry cloth
to collect the basketfuls needed for the ceremony.
Four years ago, I was reading a glossy (Always

reading, chides my grandmother) in her living room
and a spider larger than my hand sidled out
from underneath a floor-length curtain

and left through the front door without saying
good-bye. No apologies for its size, its legs
only slightly thinner than a pencil. None

of my cousins thought anything was wrong.
But it didn’t bite you! It left, no? I know what they
are thinking: She is the oldest grandchild

and not married. Afraid of spiders. But it’s not
that I’m squeamish, it’s not that I need to stand
on a chair if I spy a bug scooting along

my baseboards—I just want someone to notice
things. Someone who gasps at a gigantic jackfruit
still dangling from a thin branch, thirty feet

in the air. Someone who can see a dark cluster
of spider eyes and our two tiny faces—
smashed cheek to cheek—reflected in each.

*

2015blue.nezhukumatathil (1)Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently, Lucky Fish. With poet Ross Gay, she is the co-author of
the chapbook, Lace & Pyrite. Awards for her writing include an NEA Fellowship in poetry and the Pushcart Prize. She is the poetry editor of Orion magazine and her poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, and Tin House. She is professor of English at The State University of New York at Fredonia and in 2016-17, Nezhukumatathil will be the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.