In the spirit of co-opting Valentine's Day into what you want it to be as long as it involves gifts and gifting, I give you a review of Peach Milk by the indomitable Chimen Georgette Kouri (in the hope you will gift yourself this chapbook published by Bottlecap Press).
Peach Milk by Chimen Georgette Kouri
Inspired by nostalgia, femininity, sex, the human body, family, and true crime, Peach Milk embodies the modern Gothic genre; it is a chapbook Mary Shelley and Angela Carter would be proud of. The poetic stories Kouri tells shake off the haunting past and embrace the fears we live with now — the missing, the murdered, and the lost.
Each piece treads softly yet powerfully between the heart and the taboo. Peach Milk pushes boundaries. It is not about your comfort. It is about how alive you are; how aware you are of transgression and how this darkness and longing, captured so sublimely by Kouri, breathes rampant in us all.
"My body is a taxidermy dollhouse, manipulated by adolescent girls who have yet to understand what it means to be afraid to look into a mirror again after being followed." [Queen Anne's Lace by Chimen Georgette Kouri]
Kouri captures fear too. A fear that in recent years has grown both statistically and in how many voices are now raised to share it. It is the fear of walking home alone (at any time of day); checking your car for a stranger; locking every door; telling others where you are in the hopes they can track your final moments. It is a fear so ingrained we know it as children and it is reflected in the first eyes we see when born, and Peach Milk's sixteen pieces demonstrate the power it holds.
"This didn't start with you, it's hereditary. Your mother and grandmother and her mother found themselves terminating the peach flowers before they could turn into fruit." [The Milk Snake by Chimen Georgette Kouri]
A succinct but stunning exploration of womanhood (though not constrained by cisgender or heterosexual norms), Peach Milk is a triumph. The work of Chimen Georgette Kouri will always be worth your time.