Two Poems – Gale Acuff


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.