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“How to Find Your Mother In Her Portrait,” by Iman Mersal

“The woman in the picture is not just different from what I remember of her, or want to remember: she is a ghost, like the ghosts I would see on strips of negatives as a girl. In daylight I would hold them up to my eye, trying to guess who they were, and when I grew bored of this, I would fashion these haunted ribbons into bracelets round my wrist.”

Through a Russian Lens

As a toddler, I devoured reruns of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and even in the 1970s still occasionally saw the civil defense film Duck and Cover. It was an everyday occurrence to see the yellow and black signs marking the way to the nearest fallout shelter in schools, post offices, and stores. There was no escaping the Cold War’s shadow.