Gale Acuff

I'll be dead before you know it I tell
Miss Hooker after Sunday School today
but that's all right since I'll get to see God
soon and she said Well, Gale, you need to be
saved first before anything else happens
good to you because where you're headed now
if the Lake of Everlasting Fire
I don't even know how to swim in water,
then she smiled, her teeth are bright-white like new
tombstones, I mean if they're made of marble
but the ones in our church cemetery
are kind of a stubbly blue-gray granite
and her smile is like a small valley, maybe
meadow, it starts at a high point and then
dips and comes out on a high point again
and her nose is like a haystack but hay
-stack built by hand and not by baler and
as for her eyes, call 'em pools, Doc Savage
has such eyes but his are yellow or gold,
I think Miss Hooker's are about as
blue as you could want, the blue of clean pond
water or of course blue sky or how glass

appears blue-some if held up to the light
and as far as her face in general, milk
or maybe yogurt without fruit, maybe
the fruit's on the bottom and you haven't
stirred it up in the yogurt yet--you'd be
surprised how much detail you can notice
in just a few seconds, especially
if you're in love, which I am, I'm in love
with Miss Hooker and she's in love, too, though
with God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost
and not me, not like I'd like her to, not
that I know what I'd like, not all of it
anyway, I'm only 10, 25
is her sum so what do you do with love
that you try to send out but goes nowhere?
In fact I even asked Miss Hooker that
so as to change the subject, if it was
a change, I'm not sure, I don't want to go
to Hell but even more I don't want to
talk about it and she replied Maybe
that's why
Jesus died and I said All right
and maybe it really is. Love's hopeless.

Gale Acuff has had hundreds of poems published and is the author of three books of poetry. He has taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine, where he teaches at Arab American University.