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Flowers piled in front of a concrete wall.

“To Conjure Up the Dead”

It’s hard to commune with the dead when you are attending to your body. But didn’t I see my companion cry back there, in front of the suitcases? Did he smell the odor from human bodies?

“The End of Whispering,” by Zhanna Slor

My very first memory is about being alone. I’m one or two years old, and I’ve just woken up from a nap. It’s pitch black, and I’m standing in a creaky wooden crib, holding the bars, looking out into the small, windowless room of our apartment on Kobylanskaya Street.