Neighborhood of Man
He taped the needle to my hand, installed the mask over my nose and mouth, and said We’re going to give you medicine to help relax you. I had barely had the time to think don’t euphemize me when I was flat out. I had been reading Frankenstein so I began to dream about my frame made up of severed parts, extinct yet still with memory of life in them. Still they could feel the stitches poking different skins, and when he sewed the edge of an ear onto a scalp, I started hearing. Sounds proceeded somewhere far down and dark inside a brain both dead and not. I heard him sew and sigh oh my Elizabeth, Elizabeth. Some days passed as he worked, arranging limbs then rearranging them in a better shape or else he’d leave me alone inside the room I couldn’t see but sensed from how it echoed and smelled of chemicals. And then I heard another voice—rougher than the first, but strained the way my body strove apart while drawing together at the seams. This new sound said it wanted to take her, me, away to the desert, the wasteland of Americas. That moment I began to search for and save the words I’d need to refuse him. I was trying to move, make sounds I knew. The second noise was gone when the first let out a moan, a no, and I could feel my dozens of parts again, unzipping one from the other but couldn’t tell what part was what or where they would end up in my creator’s fit. Then I felt the blood pressure device constrict on my arm and I was who I was again, sickened by drugs but without pain. The doctor had gone home; a nurse helped me sip water from a straw.