Posts Tagged: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Nonfiction Feature: “When Milk Is a Memory” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil reads “When Milk Is a Memory”

 

WHEN MILK IS A MEMORY

When the milk first comes it is gold. When the milk first comes it feels like a tug. When the milk first sprays across the bed, we laugh but you are scared. When the milk is too much and the baby bites you want to cry and dig your hands into your husband’s palm. When the milk spills out and soaks your shirt, the bed—you wake sour to the baby’s cry. When the milk slows because you put cold cabbage leaves in your bra, you cry. When the milk tries to flow and the baby still sniffs around your chest, you cry. When the milk goes back to the body, back to your chest and vitamins back into blood—you feel stronger than ever. The baby gets fat and smiles and all the crying stops.

 

When the milk is a memory you see a glass full of it and only think: bottle. When milk is a memory and your chest softens, grows smaller—you can press against your love without pausing and the baby will coo next to you in his bassinet. When the milk is a memory, every tongue and hot breath to slow near your neck just becomes a cloud of rain-precipitate and your hand an umbrella to cup all the hours of wishing for milk missing the milk teasing the milk fooling the milk and you’ve been friends and frenemies with milk and when the time comes, milk never says good-bye. And when milk gets to where he is going—he never even sends a thank you note so don’t even bother to check your mailbox for his licked flap, his cancelled stamp.

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Announcing Our 2016 Half K Prize Winner

We are excited to announce that judge Aimee Nezhukumatathil has selected “The Flock” by Rachael Peckham as the winner of Indiana Review’s 2016 Half K Prize! Thank you to everyone who submitted their work and made this year’s prize possible. “The Flock” will appear in our Summer 2017 issue.

2016 Half K Prize Winner:

“The Flock” by Rachael Peckham

Aimee Nezhukumatathil says about the winning piece: “‘The Flock’ teaches us how to write tenderness, how to write with restraint and breath joined with tension and elegy. I thought about this piece and others for weeks as I carefully considered the supremely talented finalists, but this is the one I couldn’t shake off. And I realized: I don’t want to. I want to always recall this intimate portrait of an inquiry, its beautiful coil into the past.”

Runners-up

“Us, at Kroger” by Claire Luchette

“Weathering” by Brenda Peynado

Finalists

“Harriet’s Fall” by Jenny Fleming

“Minnesota Child would like to scream why she can’t play Paul Bunyan” by Ash Goedker

“Adoration of the J Girls” by Rochelle Hurt

“The Orchid” by John William McConnell

“It’s a Long Way to Empty” by Mary Mullen

“Esme” by Julia Strayer

“Ode to Phantoms” by Khaty Xiong

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Interview with 2016 1/2K Prize Judge Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Our 2016 1/2K Prize Judge is Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of many poetry collections such as Lucky Fish and of the upcoming collection of essays World of Wonder. In this interview, she discusses genre-blurring, some of her favorite animals, and what she might be looking for in the prize-winning entry.

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Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently, Lucky Fish.  She is the poetry editor of Orion magazine and her poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Brevity, Poetry, Tin House, and in The Best American Poetry series. She is a professor of English at The State University of New York at Fredonia, and in 2016-17, she will be the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.
You can follow her on Twitter @aimeenez.

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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.

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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.