This story is paired with Chapter 9 of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free.
am I, the son of Doctor Frankenstein?
No sooner had the doctor sown the last silver nylon stitch into my leathery skin
when he threw down his scalpel in disgust at what he had created
and rushed off to mourn, overwhelmed with remorse, belching so violently
his eyes overflowing with tears.
am I, forced to stand naked and alone in front of mirrors,
that exaggerate his thick, crooked incisions and scars, his botched surgery of assembled scraps, nuts and bolts, bits and pieces of others—his King Arthur crusade to reanimate dead tissue. Who does he think he is standing out in the rain summoning electricity from the heavens? Ben Franklin!
And what do I call him, anyway? Father, Dad, Creator, Doctor, Victor, Vic,
Mr. Frankenstein? Why should I call him by any name? He didn’t bother to name me. I’m Thing, It, Beast, Monster, Demon, Ogre, or just plain Frankenstein.
I don’t want his name. I’m not a Frankenstein.
I won’t take the name of this rank amateur with an ego larger
than all of Geneva, stalking around the mansion with a used operating manual
and a dusty notebook of unpublished experiments handed down from
Grandpa Frankenstein, crazy Grandpa Frankenstein,
the laughing stock of the village, whose dying wish was that someone
else in the family would be crazy enough to inherit his let’s play God genius.
Creation should be left to the professionals,
someone who can spit on a lump of clay and mold it to human form,
then breath spirit into it on the exhale. Someone who can stand
back and say, “This is Good!” Then turn off the laboratory lights, smile, and declare a day of rest. Someone who understands that loneliness
is painful, and that everyone needs a companion.
I begged the Doctor, for a partner, a soul mate, an Eve
to sooth my loneliness, my emptiness. It was the least
he could do, but out of fear or contempt, I know not which,
am I, the doctor imagined a perfect son, without flaws. Created in his image.
I’m not that son. I’m the son with the awkward gate,
a speech impediment and an imbecilic, borrowed abnormal brain.
excluded from festivities because of my appearance
and odd behaviors, forced to the woods, befriended by the marginal,
the blind, the homeless, abandoned to those who accept me as I am.
And the doctor thinks I lash out in anger, because he created a monster.
No. I lash out at his intolerance, and all those who would wash their hands
of it, have me flogged and nailed to a tree.
Villagers with rakes, sticks, and shovels chasing me
through woods like they had the devil himself on the run.
And long after the posse of villagers
has returned home, my creator labors
towards my destruction still,
pursuing me to the furthest
reaches of the earth, the
Whipping the eyes of his sled dogs
till they collapse in a heap of snow,
throwing him to his knees,
broken and covered in snow,
his last frozen breath a prayer
to his Creator, asking for forgiveness.
Doug D’Elia was born in Massachusetts and served as a medic during the Vietnam War. He is a playwright, visual artist, and the author of four poetry chapbooks.