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Fiction Feature: “The Girl Who Ate Her Own Skin” by Rae Paris

Cilia knew they were in for it when they found the mother on the good couch in the living room, sipping wine, looking at old photos in her college yearbook. “Look at that waist,” she said. “I was something.

The older daughters, Margaret and Theresa, looked over the mother’s shoulders at the photos: skirt below the knees, freshly ironed shirt buttoned to the neck, relaxed hair curled under. “Were you really that dorky?” they asked at the same time. They looked at each other and laughed, proud of themselves, as if they had planned it.

“I was something,” the mother repeated, not as strong. Her words slipped and slid into one another, like a train wreck.

Margaret and Theresa laughed again. They were “almost seventeen” and “almost sixteen,” as they liked to remind everyone. They spent most of their time on the phone, giggling, a sheet over their heads for privacy, which made them look like giggling ghosts.

Anne and Cilia sat on either side of the mother. They had seen the photos before, but each time the pictures startled and confused Cilia. The mother had gone to a segregated school in New Orleans. Even though she had been segregated, the mother looked young and happy. She had a nickname typed next to her photo: “Bootsy.” It was full of promise, like a pair of new, black, patent leather shoes. Cilia didn’t understand who this “Bootsy” woman was. “That’s you? That’s really you?” she asked. Cilia turned to Anne. “Can you believe it?”

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IR Editors Tell All: Poetry Recommendations for Dummies

If you aren’t already aware: it’s National Poetry Month! This month we’ve been tweeting recommendations of first books by astounding poets. Check out our Favorite Debut Poetry Collections for more info. We’ve seen a lot of great responses to these tweets–so we’ve decided to ramp up our game. We’ve asked our staff to think back to a time when they were unfamiliar with poetry–is there a poem or poet that spoke to them? Which collections would they recommend to new poetry readers? Their answers are below.

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Poetry Feature: “Recovery” by Amy Meng

In those days thought hung
like one rotted bulb of light
quiet and cold past glowing.

I loved a man who moved
over me like a horsehair bow
bent on still and silent strings.

Each morning sour cans lined
the shelves and my eyes slid oily over.
We smoked naked at the windows

and swallowed oysters for breakfast,
greedy as salt biting tongue.
I lost track of myself, but nothing else

seemed to forget what it was.
The street remained a hard back.
The accident on my leg healed

into a muted seam.
I wanted love to be an end
to the days, which I kept

walking through,
door after door.
Some nights the man hauled

into wakefulness.
I looked in him for something
more than mere sensation

which is what ghosts are.
That searching was almost
like being seen.

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IR Online: Table of Contents

Indiana Review Online 2018: An Undergraduate Project

Birth, Blood, Breed

To read the introduction to the issue and view the masthead, click here.

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IR ONLINE: Birth, Blood, Breed

IR Online is an international undergraduate literary journal produced by the Literary Editing and Publishing class at Indiana University, Bloomington. Issue 3 was planned and compiled by Emily Corwin’s class in Spring, 2018.

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