Together we watch; you from your post at the entrance, me from the recess I share with other huddled bodies. The grim mass approaches, chanting words you know by heart, and have yourself said through a hidden mouth at invitation-only night gatherings. Your nostrils flare, our eyes lock, and we both wonder: when they breach … More Watch


The machine swallowed people whole: it took all they had and all they were for the glory of the Fatherland. A handful survived to be despised later, including your grandparents, you told me once. Old friend, don’t you realize that there are those who would bring it back? I saw you on television yesterday, sleek … More Warnings

Could It Happen Again?

In the rearview mirror, he sees his son, 30, and his daughter, 28, in the Tesla’s back seat. Behind them, the rear window becomes a monitor. His children are toddlers at play. Their clothes are tattered, blanched of once bright yellows and exciting reds. The hues merge into a sickening melange the color of bloody … More Could It Happen Again?


My father went to war this morning. Mother wept, and told him not to go. Told him we were going to lose any day now, and that fighting was sheer folly. She clutched at his uniform, fingers scraping down the red, white and black armband. He pushed her away without a word. He said goodbye … More Father

To Counter

“You are not joining the Hitler Youth! And if that means that you won’t be able to go to school anymore, so be it!” His father’s thundering words were still ringing in his ears, as he was hiding behind the counter. He did not want to be seen by his classmates, some of whom were … More To Counter


Semyon reads the latest death notice with flagging interest. He’s collected four of them now: one for each of his conscripted horses. The Department of Personalized Losses Accounting sends detailed pokhoronkas. Each includes his horse’s assigned unit, how they died, and their burial method. Sometimes their commanders even enclose letters of explanation or condolence. It’s … More Pokhoronka


Phones sound off at the same time in that high-pitched alert for missing people. My picture appears on the news. I’m upset that someone has selected the bad-hair-day photo that shows dark half-moons beneath my eyes. People call my name while searching through woods and underpasses. “I’m here,” I yell back, but no one hears … More Alert


She must’ve had a name before being pulled from the rubble. She won’t remember it. “Birdie”, they called her. So small, loved whistling. Birdie must’ve had parents. A place in a home, a city, a future. What remained was her place in a wagon, pulled by her rescuer amidst a stream of dirty ghosts, flowing … More Expatriates

Seeds of Youth

Mother’s thin white hair is pulled loosely off her face. Her mischievous smile soaked through with red lipstick. Red the color of mossy raspberries plump with seeds. Her giddiness has survived the transformation into old age. It seeps through the discomfort of her body, the deceptive nature of her mind. She is a schoolgirl with … More Seeds of Youth

Selective Hearing

Although you are close enough for our hands to touch, I do not dare. I stand in silence over the kitchen counter, watching your mouth move. Talking to you is like talking to myself. Your answers are absent minded, or just absent. It’s a family trait, your distraction. It’s selective hearing, a disconnect. I wish … More Selective Hearing