Sophie Podolski · Nick Zaffiro

Why did Bolaño care about Sophie?
He made them all,
Or perhaps she made them all,
Sit line by line,
Like seashells,
At the base of her shrine
Until nothing was left.
One of them
Made them all
And long for
And remember
And revere.
But did they mourn?
Did they know why
They admired
And longed for
And remembered
And revered?
Did they know why
She took herself beyond
Our world
Violently and desperately?
Did they wonder
How she felt in between
Her lines
In between
Her words,
The pauses that last
Unchanged for eternity?
What about Sophie
Did they see?
What about Sophie
Did Bolaño love?
What about Sophie? •

  • Sophie Podolski was a young Belgian artist and poet. She was born in 1953. She wrote one book in French called “The Country Where Everything is Permitted.” She committed suicide in 1974, but her imagination, soul, and words have lived on without her body. She appears up to five times in the works of Roberto Bolaño, a Chilean born writer and poet who lived much of his young life in Mexico. In his short story “Dance Card,” Bolaño writes something similar about Sophie – similar to this footnote, not the poem. His interest in her reflects my interest in him and because I’m interested in him and he’s interested in her, I’m interested in her.

Nick Zaffiro is a writer from Massachusetts. He worked closely with Francisco Goldman at Trinity College while he was receiving his BA in English. Nick won the Alumni Prize in English for best short story at Trinity in 2017.