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Back to Nature by Sachiko Rivamonte

в машине (in the car)

by Alisa Chamberlin

the seven-hour trip begins. a man 

we paid to take us (мама, бабушка,

и я) [Mama, grandma and I] through the пустырь [emptiness, plains]

that is russia. my mom says something


about camels, or лошади (horses) living here.

all i see is dirt, abandoned здание, [buildings]

грязный ад [dirty/filthy hell]. clear blue skies do nothing

to hide the пустой [empty]world. a gas station:


then open road, stretching длиннее [longer]

than my eyes can see. sitting atop

a throne of багаж,[baggage] i reign king

of the leather чемодан [suitcase/briefcase] empire.


us against the desert: yellow травинки [strands of grass]

and tumbleweeds tell us we are not

alone. the earth is тихий [quiet] here:

никого нет. [nobody here/around] concrete structures


like boils plague the land. no windows,

no doors. the apocalypse держит своё. [holds its own]

пять часов. [five oclock] i eat black bread for dinner.

the only animals i’ve seen are the ones


внутри моей головы. [inside my head] a fire truck screams

by, entering a concrete hell. астрахань [Astrakhan—city] waves

in the heat, over the horizon. городской

горизонт [city horizon] welcomes me back: добро

пожаловать домой. [welcome home]


About the Writer...

Alisa Chamberlain is a bilingual Russian-American who enjoys writing poetry about culture, self-identity and mental health. She loves animals and rock & roll music.

About the Artist...

Sachiko Rivamonte is a senior at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. At DASOTA, Sachiko is a visual arts major. The medium of their piece is pencil.

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