Just before Christmas in Nineteen-Forty-Two
cooks at the Oregon State Sanitorium
served scrambled eggs for dinner
laced with sodium fluoride
to the mental patients
Sodium fluoride is a pesticide
used to rid kitchens of cockroaches
and rats. It is also added to city water
supplies to prevent dental cavities. Colorless
and tasteless. Between five to ten grams will kill
At the same psychiatric hospital thousands of cremains
were neglected in corroded canisters, forgotten
in the asylum's basement for decades.
The Oregonian won a Pulitzer
for the story.
of the building is a jewel
of Salem, looking like an ivy university
or steepled seminary instead of a eugenics
laboratory performing lobotomies and sterilizations.
Hiding in plain sight
is beauty’s parlor trick.
A hundred years ago it was not impolitic
to believe insanity was caused
by venereal disease
or epilepsy or
What’s the point
of all this information
I skimmed off Wikipedia?
Is a church a hospital for sinners?
Are we insane?