Memoir

The Lucky Ones

I thought I could escape my jail kid past in an idyllic southern city. But trouble found me, and not everyone I knew got out alive.

Night Wandering

I somehow thought my mother would die and still be alive, somewhere in that distant sound that resembles the sea in which she taught me to swim. But she is not there.

Secrets Are a Captive Country

My grandfather had never told me about his trip to the Soviet Union in the sixties, but I don’t know why I was surprised. He never told me anything, not even my grandmother’s name.

At a Rest Stop Somewhere in Texas

You go to Buc-ee’s for the same reason you break up with someone: to pursue possibility, that narcotic promise of more.

A Body Like a Home

Surgery can be seen as way to escape being a trans woman, the freedom to disappear into an “ordinary” life. But my scars, my complicated being, mean more than any illusion of freedom.

My Father’s Calling

He gave his life to the Russian Orthodox Church. It didn’t deserve to lay claim to him in death, too.

The Agony of Intimacy

After years struggling with painful vulvodynia, my relationship hit a breaking point. When I finally found help, I had to wonder who I’d be if I had never learned to fear sex.

Spit Thrice For Good Fortune

I used to laugh at my mother’s Russian rituals, but now, I see them as a reminder of a home I’m in danger of forgetting. 

Against Signatures

If a signature scent represents the delineations of a person fully fleshed, perfume samples offer the liberty of a protean form.

To Give a Name To It

A collection of baby names is like a taxonomy of hope, a kind of catechism for future lives scattered over the horizon.