Workshop of Filthy Creation

This story is paired with Chapter 5 of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 


“Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room.”
—Victor Frankenstein

I remember how the pale young surgeon
passed by the rows of beds
in the hospital recovery room
with a duffel bag slung nonchalantly
over his shoulder, the butts of golf clubs poking out
like bones taken from a charnel house.

The doctor did not even stay long enough
to put the leg brace on over your cast⎯
he left with a goodbye salute out a back door,
leaving the on-call nurse to finish the job.

It was not until months later, cast off
and sunning yourself at the cottage
that I saw your angry scar tissue
like a leather patch on Frankenstein’s yellow skin,
the graft’s stitches random as a gunny sack.
The transplanted flesh looked like a spare part
from a dissecting room, not your own thigh.

Later, after a check-up, you would tell me
how proud the doctor was of his work,
admiring the careful suturing of his profane fingers
and the fine job your body was doing healing
and taking to the skin, as though that too
was his unique accomplishment, his creation.


Deborah Herman

Deborah Herman is a Toronto-area poet who has relocated to the Muskokas. She has been published in Silver Birch Press’ Half New Year and Noir Erasure anthologies, Silver Apples Magazine, Motif, Vallum and Existere.