Evgeniya Dame is a Fulbright scholar and a 2020–2022 Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University. Her work appears in Ploughshares, the Southern Review, Subtropics, Joyland, Electric Literature, and the New England Review online. She grew up in Samara, Russia.
The half-lit classroom smelled like crackers and spilled soda. My class counselor, the dean of educational affairs, and Ella Markovna, my soft-spoken literature teacher, sat along one wall, under the faded reproduction of Pushkin’s portrait. They told me to grab a chair, and I did, putting it as far away as possible. My mother, who taught at the same school, kept inching hers this way and that, unsure whether she belonged with Pushkin and her colleagues or me, the emerging delinquent.