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The Man Alone

This selection is paired with The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells. Get the full issue of NonBinary Review #21 at www.zoeticpress.com


tell me Mr. Prendick,
which of our constellations brought you peace?
lend me the books
tomes that touched your savage mind
calming the violent shrieks of the city
and of the island.

I, too, have been in hiding.
I have cowered from shopkeepers in the street,
well meaninged passersby
regard me with pity,
or disgust.
oh, how my traitorous mind turns their stomachs.
I am uncomfort incarnate.
I scream at them all,
feral and wild,
pleading with them to see that the greatest victim
of the mind unhinged
is its former frame.

you must share my distrust of doctors.
what a comfort they must be
to those whose ailments are external,
or at least identified as foreign,
an alien lifeform.
but not to us, eh Prendick?
for our nature is unnatural to them, it is our
core
posing the threat to our
own bodies.
the treatments promise to cure it,
to kill it.

did you ever wish to have been a drowned sailor?
tell me how the waves rose
like anger dredged from a deep, watery soul.
tell me how it was beautiful
compared to the evil
ebbing and flowing
in our neighbors and friends,
in ourselves.

but I fear…

oh, the fear.
my dear Prendick, tell me,
if terror is a disease,
is it terminal?


Kayla Stansbury is a writer and an educator based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at LSU. Her debut poem, “Saudade,” can be found in Dovecote Magazine.