“The Last Word” by Gwynne Garfinkle

Darling, I am the scientist
and the experiment gone terribly awry.
I am also still your husband, as you
are my beleaguered bride. Darling,
the castle just exploded,
the monster, his mate
and Dr. Pretorius got blown
to smithereens, but we got away in time,
and I (probably) won’t create
any more monsters. Darling,
my hands are still the evil mitts
of a killer, even though the cackling doctor
who spliced them onto my wrists
is freshly dead (by my knife).
Darling, we were supposed to die
with everyone else at the end of the film
(you can see me in one shot
in the lab as it explodes)
but instead you’re in my arms
as we watch the castle crumble
on this desolate hillside. Darling,
I can’t play the piano
anymore, and knife-throwing
isn’t a useful skill for a concert
pianist, but isn’t it wonderful
to be alive? Darling, the monstrous
is within us and around us, but
for this one moment we’re
together, and darling, let’s pretend
that everything’s all right.

[Note: “Darling” is the last word in both of Colin Clive’s horror films from 1935: Bride of Frankenstein and Mad Love.]


black-widow-baby Gwynne Garfinkle lives in Los Angeles. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in such publications as Strange Horizons, Interfictions, Apex, Lackington’s, Mythic Delirium, Postscripts to Darkness, The Cascadia Subduction Zone, and The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk.
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