Industrial Taxidermy

This story is paired with Chapter 2 of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 


Caretaker of a mechanized graveyard,
a grave-digger among plots of fatal errors
and blue screens,
the aim to solder a 3.1 gigahertz heart
from scraps.

When the BIOS has flat lined
and binary circuits are fried,
his steel morgue teems haphazardly with
soulless mice
and severed peripherals.

Skeletal casings gutted for parts
stored in casketed drawers,
while power ports and floppy drives
litter the charnel house floor.

Undertaking the unit’s central processor,
hijacked motherboards sputter
for orphaned RAM chips:
Broken ink cartridges bleed
then mar a print obituary
until Serifs are resewn into the drive.

An industrial taxidermist not by trade
but by obsession,
he resides in a necropolitan mainframe
muttering the Rite of Committal
over dejected heat sinks
lowered to their unresting sites.

He’ll take the bonesaw to the coffin case
only to fit the gap with transparent acrylic.
Sliding two, fine, slender black lights inside
and veining it with glow-in-the-dark bus cables.

Now a phosphorescent funeral pyre –
a mechanical mortician’s monument to
inorganic organs and chrome limbs –
resurrected and reformatted.

Only the palimpsest of Virulent data
suffocates the tech-proud Victor.

SE Greathouse

S.E. Greathouse, a PhD in Children’s Literature and Pirates from Illinois State University, researches and writes about the indoctrination of children into accepting “status quo” and versions of “normal” through metaphor and other mechanisms of language. She encourages pirates’ rejection of “critical dispersion” in favor of challenging any untried authority.