excerpt, “Night Coming Tenderly” by Sandra Jackson-Opoku

The bid-whist-playing, gin-drinking, chit’lin-cooking, barbecuing, party-loving Pattersons. That was Mama’s family–loud, boisterous and slightly disreputable. Miss Jonita declared them “country,” though the Pattersons had been established in Chicago a good half-century before Miss Jonita’s people came Up North, or as Black folks ironically deemed it, “Up South” from Arkansas.

“On My Very Brief Encounter with the Russian Army” by Ilia Rappoport

It becomes increasingly clear, then, that the government does not intend to use its army as an institution of pure militaristic purpose. If it did, then it would have focused on quality over quantity, promoting a career in the army as something prestigious and sought-after rather than what it is now – a year-long fever dream between youth and adulthood for those who don’t do well on the national exams.