by Yael Flusberg

Doctor, you say the mercury has seeped into my brain like water through cracks in a prison wall. That most people sleep
through the night, dreaming of high-speed pursuits. That the buzzing in my head
is the heavy metals bursting the banks

of the blood-brain barrier like the flooding of the Nile. There’s no way to detect how deeply it sinks into soft tissue. It will take six months to right the wrong done
by dentists and factories which sully waterways with invisible enemies. We

have all been poisoned. Polluted water ways lay siege to our veins. In a previous year, I learned some cells refused suicide, instead calcified into a mass the size
of a small nut. I forbade many items from my plate – wheat and cheese, all

sweets, even legumes and rice, which supposedly irritate the lymph.
For months, my days were not bookmarked by roasted beans and fermented grapes.
I could barely share meals with friends. Doctor, what was the worth of this detox

since I now have billions of uninvited buggers in my guts and my anti-cancer pill regimen doesn’t make it through my system?
Is this cynicism the fog caused by
the mining of coal and gold or am I mad as a hatter because I was a curious child,

breaking thermometers to play with the rolling silver liquid inside? There is no palisade to forestall the inevitable invasion from outside. We are
porous, metals-vapors-salts knocking down the city of nine gates, captivated and caught in corporeal currents.

About Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

Smith Center programs are based on the simple but profound belief that everyone harbors innate capacities for healing, and that healing is always possible. We believe that every individual has the ability and right to thrive, find meaning, and maintain hope in the face of life’s challenges.

Smith Center offers transformative cancer retreats, support groups, stress reduction classes, patient navigation, nutrition
& cooking sessions, and arts & creativity experiences to adults living with cancer and their caregivers. Founded in 1996, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is the only Washington, DC-based independent cancer support center serving the entire DC community.