In Tula, England hung from our walls. Oxford leaned from the pots until, one Sunday, tall suitcases shrunk the living room. Cigarette in the toilet bowl. Russian girls perfuming themselves in my mother’s room. Boys drinking kompot straight from the pitcher. In the months when they stayed with us, they would bring plastic airplanes, neon snowsuits, board games. They would bring English names, adoption papers, talk of insomnia. They knew my mom could dress a table, or at the grocery, turn the flurries of Cyrillic into English. They knew she could tell the girl crying on our couch: vse budet horosho
Sashka’s adoptive parents return from the orphanage and sit in the dining room. Sashka is jumping on the couch.
The parent’s eyebrows reconfigure. They say “Scott, easy on that couch. You’ll break it.” Subtitle: In Russian, Scott is the word signifying livestock.
Sashka does not listen. He has something more important to convey. He jumps on the couch because he is starring in a movie.
His parents move in their seats. They think about the toys they brought, how they shine, shouting “Scott! Scott!”
The CAMERA moves in on Sashka. His face is charged with energy and his eyes burn with knowledge. Sashka continues to jump, shouting “Nikakoi ya ne Scott. Ya Sashka Kyrov!”
Subtitle: I am no Scott; I am Sashka Kyrov!
Sashka is jumping and his parents continue to shout “Scott! Scott!” He holds a metallic firetruck and shouts “I am Sashka Kyrov!”
-- Konstantin Kulakov (he/they) is a poet and translator born in Zaoksky, Soviet Union. His poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in Spillway, Phoebe, Harvard Journal of African American Policy, Tahoma Literary Review, Passengers Journal, and Loch Raven Review, among others. They hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and are co-founding editor of Pocket Samovarmagazine. They live in Washington, D.C., on occupied Piscataway and Anacostan land.