This story is paired with Chapter 3 of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free.
“Transplants are commonplace nowadays, even routine,
so no impediments remain to performing the process
on oneself. Pleased to meet you. Doctor Kenneth Frank—Ken’s fine.
Transplants. Symbiology. You’ve probably guessed
the hand you shook just now was not always mine.
My gardener, a former cowpoke and prizefighter, possessed
musculature that was enviable, indeed.
When he quite unexpectedly passed,
I imagined a mutually beneficial arrangement. His cadaver agreed,
you might say. His arm lives on, serves me and retains
the strength and soul of his brawn and breed.
You felt him in the handshake. You met him, too,
just then. Sadly, his left hand would not accede
motor control (damned thing). But look here! Mismatched, it’s true.
My left belonged to a concert harpist. Female, yes.
It was her dominant hand, so although in school,
I was right-handed, I now find myself ambidextrous—
and master of this limb’s delicacy. My sutures
have become gestures with the power and finesse
of music. See my ankle? The fine needlework
scarcely left a scar. I’ll never suffer again with as scabrous
an attachment as my first shoulder. I’m an artist now.
You’d almost think this was the leg I myself grew as a fetus.
Realize you are standing before a crowd,
all of us animated by a medical brain ahead of its future.
The procedure is costly, to be sure, but you learn to stop counting.
Take my card in case I might help you out, someday, somehow.”
Daniel Ari (text) writes, teaches, publishes and performs poetry. His book One Way to Ask combines poems with illustrations by 60 different artists. Daniel has placed work in Poet’s Market, Writer’s Digest, carte blanche, Cardinal Sins, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and blogs at fightswithpoems.blogspot.com and IMUNURI.blogspot.com.
“Meeting the Doctor” was published in Tales of the Undead Series: SUFFER ETERNAL, Vol. III.
Christian Roman (art) has been working in animation for almost 20 years, on such projects as The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat and Lilo & Stitch. He co-created and directed Disney’s Fillmore! for which he was nominated for an Annie Award. Currently he is a Story Artist at Pixar Animation Studios, having worked on Toy Story 3, several Toy Story shorts, and a future release set for 2017.