Posts Categorized: Online Feature

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Online Feature: “Remedies” by Talin Tahajian

You were the color of a dove & I don’t know what to do
about that. I have never understood how to cup my hands

& take communion. Like a faithful daughter, I carry this
with me. I stab it with feathers & pray until it is covered

in gems. I rinse it in the river that knows my blood, wring
it out beneath a full moon. I know nothing about bird calls.

I know nothing about meat. Bless the river & all the fish
we poisoned. Foreign fluids. Bless the red birches forced

to watch. I want to burn something, so I char the flesh
of a catfish & think of myself. Girl as carp. Small tragedy

with freshwater pearls. I baptize myself in this water
& I see myself float in this water. Somewhere, a flock

of crows & I don’t hear anything over the soft breath
of river fish as they touch me in places that don’t exist.

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This poem appeared in Indiana Review 37.1, Summer 2015.

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor): Talin Tahajian’s poetry is tender, melodic, and sensuous. I can never get enough of her writing, especially this poem—the way she explores faith through images of birds, water, fish. This poem sweeps me up like the river running through it. If you have not read Talin’s work, you definitely should—her poems are necessary and gorgeous and exactly what you need.

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Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2014 & 2016, Salt Hill Journal, Passages North, Columbia Poetry Review, and Washington Square Review. She’s the author of two chapbooks, The smallest thing on Earth (Bloom Books, 2017) and Start with dead things (Midnight City Books, 2015), a split chapbook with Joshua Young. She edits poetry for the Adroit Journal and is currently a student at the University of Cambridge, where she studies English literature.

 

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Online Feature: “The Head Bodyguard Holds His Head in His Hands” by Lincoln Michel

When the Dictator settles on a day of shopping, the head bodyguard notifies the store twenty minutes in advance. In this way, assassination plots are eluded. The Dictator arrives in a black limousine along with his four favorite bodyguards. The head bodyguard sits in the front seat and lazily scans the tops of buildings for any glints that might signify a sniper rifle or bazooka. The Dictator reclines in the backseat between two of the other bodyguards—two brothers, in fact—and sips a small cup of single malt Scotch and water. Sometimes he will substitute the Scotch for an obscure brand of grape soda he has consumed since childhood, although only if the Dictator thinks that the bodyguards will not be able to guess the contents of his drink. This is why the Dictator only drinks from black mugs.
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Online Feature: “Winds and Clouds Over a Funeral” by Ha Jin

The IU Arts & Humanities Council was lucky enough this week to host the Chinese-American writer Ha Jin for China Remixed, IU’s first Global Arts & Humanities Festival.

Indiana Review is proud to share a story he originally published with us in Indiana Review 17.2, Fall 1994. 

“Winds and Clouds Over a Funeral” well exemplifies Ha Jin’s enduring subject, the ways in which the individual grapples with the state. In this story, he, with a sharp, unsparing eye, examines how the state encroaches on even the most personal of matters, how to bury your dead mother. — Anna Cabe, Web Editor

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Sheng arrived at Gold County to work as a junior clerk in the military department at a large textile mill. Five days later, he was informed that his grandmother had passed away. The departmental chief gave him three days to attend the funeral at home. Sheng went to the bus station at noon and got on a bus bound for Dismal Fort.

He used to enjoy seeing the landscape outside the county town, especially the long reservoir that supplied water for six counties, and the large concrete dam that blocked the gorge of a valley and connected two rocky hills. In the middle of the dam stood a small house like a pillbox with loopholes. When the bus crept on the winding road along the bank, the water would flash like large fish scales in the sun. But today Sheng had no appetite for scenery. He closed his eyes and tried to take a catnap. He didn’t feel very sad, though he loved his grandmother.

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Online Feature: “Quotidian” by Corey Van Landingham

A friend calls me crying, again, and, wanting to describe
her taste in men, I look up poor vs. bad. Language
is changing, the internet declares. The rules don’t hold.
It’s a poor and a bad time to be dating, I tell her.

A questionnaire asks how many nights a week do I have
difficulty falling asleep. Five nights is labeled as Always.
Those two extra nights in the ether. Nights that would
nudge always toward infinity, spin out into some other

ineffable arsenal. When the therapist asked why I stopped
cutting myself, I told him vanity. The multiple choice
wavering inside my forehead, good enough. The options
on the questionnaire so perfect in their circles, making

time eerily check-offable. Like when I see the man
in the hardware store, who, years ago a boy, told me
to take my pants off as he drove me home, and,
because I was young and in love with my body

for the last time, I did. I tell my friend to be patient.
Before we had words for the days of the week, humans
still were touching each other, holding each other’s faces
between their hands, lifting their eyes up to the stars,

which will never be loosened from language, for us,
so much a part of the body that we almost, now,
forget it. Maybe I stopped sleeping with scissors
out of boredom. Maybe it was that each person

pausing beside me in the paint aisle I checked off
as Better. That two lost nights might separate Better
from Best, and what’s beyond that? What happens
when you choose something, someone, because,

for two nights a week, it could be worse? If my ass were
never bare on the leather for that man, buying a ladder
right there in front of me, then maybe I wouldn’t be still
shivering next to boxes of sharp objects, trying to decide.

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This poem appeared in Indiana Review 37.1, Summer 2015.

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor): Corey Van Landingham is one of the coolest, smartest voices in contemporary poetry. I read her collection, Antidote last autumn and it swept me up. “Quotidian” is a gorgeous piece, exploring matters of friendship, sex and romance, self-harm, wellness. Van Landingham interrogates here what a “good” life traditionally looks like, about what it could look like. This poem leaves me unsettled in the best of ways.

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Corey Van Landingham is the author of Antidote, winner of the 2012 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry. A recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, her work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2014, Boston Review, and The New Yorker, among many other places. She is currently a doctoral student in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati.

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Online Feature: “Disappearing Rabbits” by Anne Owen Shea

There are things your mother will do for you that no one else will: cut crusts off your bread, sew together two soft scraps of cloth to make a blanket for your bed. She will allow you to stay home in the house when you get older because she likes having you around. Mothers want you to be close to them. They buy you gifts, a rabbit that you think is female at first but then turns out to male, a cross necklace for your first communion, a music box with a ballerina on a spring that twists in circle when you wind it up. There is a time in your life when anything is possible and then later on a time when nothing is. Eventually the music box stops playing music, and one of your rabbits disappears. And then you lose track of the box completely; the barbed wire cage becomes home to another rabbit that your parents buy to make you feel better. And then eventually the replacement rabbit disappears and there is just an empty cage, a few tufts of fur in the yard after the dogs run away.
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