From Dr. F’s Burned Papers

This story is paired with Chapter 6 of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free.


As usual they got it all wrong of course,
all that rot about half-inch thick bolts in the neck
and black stitches wide as bailing twine.
His crime was never murder I might add,
for it was they who done him in
with the pillory and jeering
against nature, against nature
while throwing anything they could lay
heinous hands on:
stones, offal, vegetables, dirt—
Fishwives, fish mongers, that pitchfork rabble
was of the Dante circle kind, their sport in torment
a-oh-so-moral maelstrom hypocrisy itself vomited.

While thunder crashed after them
he lay on my slab
like some gutted sea creature.
By torchlight I cleansed him,
questioning what Creator could have allowed
such fury without mercy,
as lightning outside mirrored my own.

How it entered the lab to take us as one
cannot be explained,
nor life’s miracle after the flash.

I woke upon him disoriented by circumstance
but gradually aware of his heart
beating in rhythm to mine.
This is the mysterious way in which wonder works,
mouth to mouth, the circuitry of souls,
a back ‘n forth breath.

“Lover,” he whispered, opening eyes to our history
memory shared skin to skin,
prior passion given it due through our rebirth phenomenon.

Yes, it is true, that other part Miss Shelley wrote about
for, back then, concerning physicians,
people were superstitious,
especially when, partners in crime,
he and I disappeared.

How that good woman took their gossip
and conceived such a tale
proved collusion could be lover’s luck
best given by the fair sex, sympathetic
in person though her book painted us monstrous,
and even Byron thought that a lark.

Later, with changed names
on far safer shores,
we paid our debt, in respect,
to those eclectic romantics
by staying like currents, plus, minus,
electrically hid and never breathing a word.


Stephen MeadStephen Mead is a creatively-frustrated Secretary working for a very nice university in NY. Much can be learned of his multi-media work (done outside the day job), by placing his name in any search engine. His latest Amazon release is entitled “Our Spirit Life,” a poetry/art meditation on family heritage, love, and the evanescence of time.