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.