By Cassandra Dallet
Body Count Fourth of July
July 2-4, 2020
The days are marked with death tolls infection rates blazing red states and a barrage of bomb-like fireworks San Quentin has over a thousand infected just over three thousand imprisoned there the infection comes out of the same prison my boyfriend moved from he was in a dorm of medically compromised mostly older prisoners many of them are dead now or on the brink people want to move on to unmask to congregate we all do but the reasoning or lack of the conspiracy theories ignoring the rest of the world we medical professionals have relied on masks and gloves against death our whole work lives but are called fearful and foolish it’s exhausting my heart is pinballing around my chest the street outside exploding with my nervous system in the prison he was moved to they can only guess at contact tracing at cells and gymnasiums made into makeshift morgues who will have access to ventilators when the time comes if they will go to hospital at all the guards won’t wear face masks they come and go from the outside world get in your face and nobody cares about the incarcerated Except those of us who need them like oxygen who wait impatiently for word each day write letters and whisper prayers that they can shelter in the places where they belong that they come home where they belong baby please come home where you belong
They’re building a morgue at the prison
That’s what the rumors say. Free staff at the C building are down with the virus It’s coming silent up the hill. It's quietly here already. Incubating, simmering, waiting to ignite. They’re putting bunks in the gymnasium are they taping squares six feet apart? Are they for the infected or the non? And will there be any consideration for his asthmatic lungs? 24 hour lock down they say. Endless days in a pod with nitpicking lifers. Some shifts the CO’s lock them down. Some shifts act like nothing’s wrong. On lock down he cannot use the phone. No one will know until after the plague comes. No word will reach us to say hey I’m sick I need help and there is just this skinny fence and miles between— us every dry cough is terrifying. It’s a hella of a time to start hot flashes. So cold this spring, so hungry. When you have to move around you’re a target like me. When you can’t move around you’re a sitting duck like him. How do you prepare yourself from a jail tier? The rumors flying faster than infection. One’s mind is a battlefield. Even the lifers never really planned to die here.