Stone Telling

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A Bulgakov Headache

by Sonya Taaffe

       No wonder he had such headaches
       with a dictator always trying to get into his head
       while his devils tried to get out,
       my nervous writer, sleepless in a nightmare,
       stories like cigarette ash on his cuffs.
       No wonder if his books racked him like fevers,
       clanged in his dreams like the guns at Kiev.
       No wonder my head burns, thinking on Misha
       half blind by the end of it, still seeing too much.

Sonya Taaffe's short stories and poems have appeared in such venues as Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, Here, We Cross: A Collection of Queer and Genderfluid Poetry from Stone Telling, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. Collected work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press). She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master's degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.

Photography: adapted from handwritten letter from Bulgakov on a bureau, by Jay Springett.