by Steve Babb, written for the men at Stewart Detention Center during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of August 13, there have been 158 confirmed cases of the virus at the facility - and 2 deaths.

We’re at our breaking point; we’ve had our fill,

No social distance here; packed to the gills,

We breathe the same stale air, the same sour smells;

Like ICE, the fever toys with us: it chills,

Then burns, then throttles us; we try to fill

Our lungs, but they shut down; our guts rebel;

Yet still the medics tell us we’re not ill

They treat all maladies with the same pill.

The guards have shown that they’re prepared to quell

Our demonstrations; they let loose at will

With gas and pellets; when we’ve had our fill

They send us to the segregation cells.

We swelter in this place; packed to the gills;

The fever cycles through; it roams at will;

Our pulses race; we’re wracked with coughing spells;

Our heads pulsate; we take the useless pill;

We’re paralyzed by fear; our thoughts go still;

We’re at our breaking point.

Steve Babb is a volunteer at El Refugio, a ministry of hospitality and visitation serving the immigrants at Stewart Detention Center and their friends and families.