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"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Joan Mazza

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Missionary Kid

Retired now, he types his mother's letters
for a family book. Together we scan
black and white photos of young parents, siblings,
the African children they brought to Christ
in Senegal, his mid-west American
parents on a mission to sacrifice
all comforts for the Lord. Devout, reciting
from Bibles, their five children invited
to boarding schools provided by the church.
Kids' letters censored. First lesson silence.
Parents ignorant of bullies hired to teach,
not taunt and scar. Older boys discovered sex
with younger children they vowed to protect.
School was our view of hell, adult children say.
They molested us, then taught us how to pray.
Beyond censure now, they tell their stories—
how they lost their faith in all God's glories.