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Sunday, October 21, 2012


by Joan Mazza

Release of Scouts' files reveals decades of abuse
Reports cover more than 1,200 suspected molesters from the 1960s through 1985, naming doctors, lawyers, politicians and police officers. --LA Times, October 19, 2012

You said those words like a holy incantation
as you listed your son’s merit badges: rock
climbing, hiking, wildlife management. Food plan
for the homeless made him an Eagle Scout,
would count on college applications.

No need for a lecture meant to warn. Nights,
your head easy on the pillow, confidence
in your children’s safety, skills on camping trips.
(Sissy boys couldn’t join the Scouts.)

Leaders would turn them into men, would never
show them porn. What they learned was silence,
keeping secrets, loyalty. Rocks they had to swallow,
could not digest. You say, “What? What?”

Your own father held the same surety in safety
when he enlisted you to be an altar boy. Do you tell
yourself you should have earned awards for restraint,
forgiveness, understanding while you plotted

murder? Perversion files. For decades, they knew.
How much each of you learn. Nothing you could
have dreamed. Teachers, priests, scout leaders,
coaches took their power in muscled arms

and ran with it. Again, you dive into your Southern
Comfort. Here’s your award: Step up like a man
and take a white chip.

Joan Mazza has worked as a psychotherapist, writing coach, certified sex therapist, and medical microbiologist, has appeared on radio and TV as a dream specialist. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Perigee/Putnam). Her work has appeared in Kestrel, Stone’s Throw, Rattle, Writer's Digest, Playgirl, and Writer's Journal. She now writes poetry and does fabric art in rural central Virginia.