Seven Deadly Sins by E.M.A.

Posted on October 12, 2015 by


Cancer has a strange, cruel poetry. It is interfused with its opposites, with rhythms, with melody and motif. Cancer is the most painful poetry, an inversion, the body betraying itself. But cancer comes in many forms, bodily and otherwise, at times our minds betraying our hearts, our hearts forsaking our souls, our eyes forgetting our hearts, our minds remembering our eyes and their cruel visions.
Sometimes, cancers grow outward. They are subtle, nuanced, deadly—engulfing everything, expanding from a primordial center.
The woman could not have known she would be a victim, and how could she have? It was miniscule at first, a little black spot taking refuge in the folds of her heart, tucked deep within her. She was not born with it, as some might have you believe, but it is easily, unknowingly acquired. Sometimes a shadowy stranger knocks on the doors of your eardrums, reverberating through your hearing, and all you have to do is—just once—permit him a listen.
Yes, it started small, but it gathered momentum, weight, expanse over time. Before long, it was colonizing her heart, her viscera, growing in ever-widening circles, around which she circumambulated. It erected statues, glorifying itself, monuments, idols, idols, signs, redirections, images, centers of gravity that pulled her in violently, irrevocably.
She used to think it was at her mercy, that she could give and take away from it, that she could watch it, observe it, whittle it down when needed. But at some point it took her eyes, too, and she could no longer see it. It redoubled itself, sealing itself into itself, crystallizing in a permanent form.
Her cancer went undiagnosed, as undetectable things often do. No one stopped its settler-colonialism, laying stakes in her flesh, in a foreign language with an imperial tongue. It masqueraded as nothing—conquest always does—and consumed her all the same. No one knew. And how could they, when one day, sometime in the past, she stopped knowing, too.
But eventually, these things can no longer be denied. It grew into her body, changing her form. It started in her chest, which drew in more air than it needed, depriving others of oxygen, so proud of its own capacity for retention. The air expired from her, cold, barren.
Her flesh expanded, too, cancerous, treacherous flesh, consuming endlessly, dispassionately, as a matter of course, drawing energy in with a fierce pull, voracious, expending nothing in return, a system imbalanced, though she believed it was self-contained, a closed system, no love lost.
Ravenous flesh, consuming recklessly, but it never sufficed. Expanding outward, crushing the body, the heart, the soul within. All flesh was the same, all flesh desired, all flesh attained. One large mass, multitudes collapsed into it.
One morning, it grew into her face. It spread into her mind, her eyes turning emerald. There were things exempt, things she felt could be subsumed, should be subsumed in her ever-expanding monument to herself. But the monument was never tall enough, wide enough, protruding enough—others needed destroying first.
So her feet ran swiftly to mischief, her eyes filled with the gaze of others, her tongue whispering adeptly with deceit. Her hands became quick to draw blood, her ears quick to hear praise and deaf to censure, her lungs reluctant to breathe pure air.
Her cancer took everything prisoner, but it also had its complications. Sometimes her illnesses combined into new diseases, spilling into one another. A venomous comorbidity took hold of her, sometimes a lust for gluttony, pride of greed, and as her sicknesses multiplied, she built them new altars to worship at, inverting her entire world, placing herself at the center, and at the center of herself a many-sworded malady.
The disease found new homes in all the spaces they stole, communal territory. And yet there was nothing communal about the shedding of love, the shutting of herself to others, this most violent, brutal reorientation. Always directed inward, blind, deaf, and without senses, walking in circles, believing she was walking straight.