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A Hail Mary Pass to the Twenty-First Century

Fear recalled, the taste of sweat in retreat; when
one can never seem to run far enough or fast enough.
Remembering the Christian children’s chants of
devil worshiper, atheist; the taunting hell they saw for those 
not blessed to be themselves.

The jeer of the crowd for those apart. The 
mob mentality of the Christian heart. The damn you if
you’re not me, to a girl of eight, defies any amount of time,
memories are not obliterated.

Breathless behind a hollow-core door, gasping 
tears, a heart pounding to the beat of fists on panel,
fear recalled as bile rises; hate thrown the Jew bated,
	only an inkling of what Tanta felt.

Nineteen fifty-six, eleven years after the end of WWII, 
I had seen the numbers burned into my families’ skin;
the ones still alive to show them to a child of eight,
	broken glass nights, crowded trains, death camps.

New England, still gripped in a Christian hell,
at eight, at twelve, at eighteen—and every Christmas
in between—don’t speak, don’t tell, don’t let them know
you’re different—different, hated, taunted,
chased, and if possible erased.

Prejudice knows no boundary of time or place, the
fear, the mob, the gang, the chanting group, alive still in
the 21st century. When you kneel, and pray, 
even when you say Amen.

First Published by Synchronized Chaos Spring 2015

Copyright © Debbie Guzzi


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  1. Date: 2/7/2016 6:31:00 PM

    Soup Mail!
  1. Date: 2/7/2016 10:04:00 AM

    Gripping, powerful write. You had me at first line. Prejudice is everywhere, but there is nothing like a first-hand experience to bring home the truth. Racial, religious, social a child learns it from the adults of another group, not of her own age group. I had to smile when I saw the word "atheist". I used it on my latest write but in a totally different context. Love reading you!
  1. Date: 2/5/2016 10:11:00 AM

    my dear Debbie, your words are so steady like the falling of confetti or the endless maze of spaghetti which means most are not ready for confessions so heavy....religion is for men who want to hide their sin like the hatred for one's skin and that's true without reason to pretend because only through FAITH and Love will we win and bring such oppressions to an a southern black man, I really understand....;)
  1. Date: 2/2/2016 11:31:00 AM

    What a powerful write with such an important message to think about, Debbie. Intolerance has not disappeared through the centuries. T.J
  1. Date: 2/2/2016 12:11:00 AM

    Hugely powerful, packing a real punch. Intolerance rides the centuries like a boxcar hobo, sadly. A great write, Debbie. Viv x
  1. Date: 2/1/2016 9:23:00 PM

    You tell a sad tale and offer a warning in this work. Peace & Blessings Matthew Anish
  1. Date: 1/31/2016 12:15:00 PM

    Excellent write and very powerful.. how sad such things happen..