Author Archives: Sophia Pfaff-Shalmiyev

About Sophia Pfaff-Shalmiyev

I am a writer, photographer and painter living in NW Portland with my son and daughter. I'm still nostalgic.

Waiting To Be Emptied


Dear Marie,
Yr thighs are ruined, you want too much.

Dear Marie,
Nodding razors hello.
Glad folding pale slips.

Dear Marie,
I married the butcher to get to the bone.

Dear Marie,
Love letters to non-lovers is our inner dialogue melting the mint sting smell in the dark bar again.

Dear Marie,
Are you reading Truth and Beauty and wanting to make paper planes out of each and 
every ripped out page, then never fly them my way?

Dear Marie,
We were never lazy when we were still friends, because every couch cushion was on fire 
and clammy boy hands swatted away ashes faster than the burns could appear on our 

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If It Hasn’t Been Yr Decade For A While



1. While pondering the subject of a woman’s reputation, I have seen the aura before the blinding headaches more than ever lately. Squinting makes it feel better, but still, there’s the popcorn machine sound behind the eyes. I want cotton balls drenched in ice-cold milk to plop into the dark veined sockets darting back and forth. Freeze out the barking dogs. Feet for eyes and eyes for feet to run through the steaming mud. As I get older, the offense is no longer as simple as calling a woman a derogatory word citing a sordid past. Those can be badges of courage; they can be yawns; a collective sigh. It’s the pity, followed by erasure that is the next tight valve to burst in your future because you’re a woman who is aging and you have been left.

2. It all began the day I read the first few lines of an article in the waiting room seven years ago. Back when I was still a therapist applying blame to the numb. Back when I believed Sartre and de Beauvoir were pure and the New Yorker article was the hook for this sinker.

John and Yoko.

Exene Cervenka and John Doe.

Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore.

Maggie Nelson and Nick Flynn.

The one who shot himself and the ugly one who lived and got the leftover hate, clothes torn off when she dove the stage.

They were supposed to make it, but the piles of togetherness-worship rubble make for taunting road signs. Continue reading