The Quarantine of Death

By Stephen Pech Gai

We carried a heavy load of empty belongings and hearts laden in ranklement as we poured from the city’s four corners to the Garden of Eden.
At a blink of an eye, we squatted in homelessness at our home—like flotsam and jetsam floating in dearth at the river of death.
Beyond our doorsteps we were bundled to huddle in quarantine of death, tongues shackled within the mounded wall of earth.

Call out our names on the streets of Juba, but it was as if we never existed, echoes of silence bouncing on the streets.
Greet us in our language on the streets of Juba, but it appeared as if the Nuer had never walked on earth.
Mention our cultural heritage on the streets of Juba, and our interwoven emblems whined as if to discard part of our heritage.

We prostrated as jutted jaws from a dungeon beckoned us to our demise while a thousand spades struck our graves.
In the celestial sphere, the constellations went into hiding as the men wearing cartridges leadened the sky to the darkest night for a brutal hunt.
The sun went into hiding, too tired to shine on the bereft as we swapped the gospel of peace to cite dirges.

The promised land of our heroes with jubilant children and women ventured onto a perilous path as euphoria begot extinction and humiliation.
The once large Garden of Eden decomposed to a quarantine of death.
The once deeply cemented pride sealed in brotherhood, beneath our skins, minds, and blood broke into pieces of horror.



23 November, 2022