Three Poems by Gale Acuff

By  | September 2, 2014 | 2 Comments | Filed under: Poetry


Three Poems by Gale Acuff


If I die in Sunday School then I go
to Heaven automatically, that’s
what Miss Hooker told me, she’s my teacher
so she ought to know but she added that
I’d better not be thinking impure thoughts
at the time of my demise, which means when
I croak, if I do, during class, but odds
are that I get to dwell in Heaven with
God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost and
all those saints who went marching in and my
dog and my grandfather, unless he’s in
Hell but I shouldn’t judge him, that’s a sin
and sin adds up and if they sum too much
or at least if you don’t beg forgiveness
like you mean it for them from God there’s no

escape. I guess that if I have to die,
which I do, I’m just saying, I’d rather
go to Heaven since, one day, Miss Hooker
herself will be there and though the Bible
says in it, somewhere (too many big words
and I’m only ten years old), that there’s no
marrying in Heaven that doesn’t mean
you can’t date. Miss Hooker’s 25 here
but up in Paradise we’ll both be naught.
Since there’s no time, we’ll have no time to lose.




I know what’s going to happen when I
die–I’ll go to Heaven or Hell and it
depends on whether I’ve been good or bad,
like at Christmas but the stakes are higher,
my immortal soul and not just presents,
that’s what Miss Hooker says at Sunday School,
she’s my teacher and is 25 and
only eight years away from the age of
Jesus when He died and not just died but
was crucified, at 33, I’ve seen
some pictures of Him nailed up on the Cross
and it’s not very nice but Miss Hooker
says that in the long run it was, or is,
or will be, because He died for my sins

and so if I believe that He’s the Son
of God then when I die there’s just no way
I can go to Hell where Satan will kill
me even though I’m already dead–no,
I’ll go to Heaven if I’ve been square and
dwell with God forever, dwell means to live
with but awfully comfortably, not
just hanging in Heaven but belonging.
So what’s going to happen when I die
is that my soul will go to God to be
judged one way or the other, Miss Hooker
says that there’s no third way about it, so
naturally I’m hoping for Heaven
even though I have to be dead to get

there. That’s life, she says. Then she starts to cry.



There’s Good Money in Refrigeration

When I die I’ll go to Heaven at least
to be judged and if I’m judged better than
bad then I think I get to stay and dwell
with God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost
and the saints and martyrs and good old souls
from the Bible and good folks who have died
since then, maybe my parents when my time
comes, if they make it, and Miss Hooker, my
Sunday School teacher, twenty-five years old
to my 10 but nevertheless I want
to marry her when I’m hairy enough
and shaving and driving and working at
least part-time until I graduate high
school and probably go to vo-tech and
learn how to work on refrigerators,
there’s good money in that, and have babies
with Miss Hooker, as many as we can
and she’ll show me how if I don’t pick it
up myself along the way and one day
we’ll all be up in Heaven, if we’ve all
been good enough and my theory is, and
don’t tell Miss Hooker I said so (it might
scare her off), everybody needs just
enough sin to make life fun and so that
goodness will have something useful to do,
like help us get to Heaven all the same.
Since we’ve got to die we might as well live.



Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Concho River Review, WorcesterReview, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).

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2 Responses to Three Poems by Gale Acuff

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