Miss Hooker, I love you, I say in my sleep and meanwhile I’m holding her close but it’s only the pillow, soft and mushy like she is, or like I like to think she is, mushy that is, like a marshmallow and she won’t hold me back nor engulf me, that’s a word I learned in regular school, not Sunday School where she’s my teacher and I love her as much as do God but if I tell her so she’ll holler at me Thou blasphemer, and I wouldn’t blame her, I like it when she hollers at me, say when I screw up the Lord’s Prayer like I did this morning when she called on me to recite it--I flubbed how it goes halfway to the end and my classmates giggled but she put the kibosh on that, so maybe she loves me anyway, I mean real love between husbands and wives, forget I’m 10 to her 25, love will find a way, that’s what God’s for and not so much Nature but anyway when I grow up I’ll come back to Sunday School and say hello and maybe propose and if she turns me down I’ll ask and ask until she caves in, knock and it shall be opened. Just by kissing.
It was potatoes saved, us, they kept us alive.Richard Wilbur, “Potato”
God will take care of me so I don’t have to do nothing--anything I mean--to make my way in the world and because He made me He’s even more responsible than I am for what I am and will be or at least I think so now, ten years old to His eternity, but just wait ‘til I’m dead, I might change my mind then, I might wake up dead and greet God (or Jesus or the Holy Ghost, or all Three) by saying how happy I was to have been kicking and suffering and dying young is small potatoes to never having been born at all and that way when God judges me He’s bound to forgive me and keep me there in Heaven forever, no Hell for me, and if He does like I think He’ll do then I’ll take Him by surprise like He took me when I was born, even nine months before, and say, I appreciate this Heaven but I’d rather burn in Hell and burn and burn than go on for a phony lifetime just another angel in Paradise. Well, that’s bound to tick Him off and put me down in the Bad Place where I belong but maybe it will be worth it, maybe God will think again about what He did when in the beginning He saw that things were good. They were good, just not great. I’ll be great.
Gale Acuff has had hundreds of poems published in several countries 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.