Romance

GALE ACUFF

It's Miss Hooker I love more than I love

God or Jesus or the Holy Ghost and

maybe all three together and squared

for good measure, she's going to be my

wife one day when I'm no longer 10 and

though she'll be older, too, than 25

like she is now I won't give a damn, I'll

still love her, her beauty will be older

but that won't bother me and anyway

she probably won't last long, she's

fifteen years older than I am and come

the future who knows how many more years

she'll be? In regular school I'm not good

at arithmetic but I'm not afraid

to be ignorant, I'll get what's coming'

to me and anyway don't I pray like

Hell every night before I go to bed

that God will work us a miracle and

Miss Hooker will be mine and of course I'll

be hers? So forget what I said about

loving her more than God, I mean more than

I love God, it's called exaggeration,

also known as getting carried away,

and anyway I'm just a kid, how bad

can I be? But Miss Hooker says that I

need to get saved even though Jesus died

so that I won't have to, my soul that is,

because if I die unsaved then I'm screwed

though she didn't out it quite that way but
I got the message. And then I told her

mine, that I love her more than I love God

and His Son and His cousin the Holy

Ghost and I don't care who knows and I don't

care about blasphemy, by Ned, this i

true love. She had to sit down, hard, on her

big stool at the front of our Sunday School

classroom and take off her specs and look out

the window and mutter, I think it was

Yes, Gale, you're probably correct about

that but that doesn't make it right. That's how

I know she loves me. Or she'll kill herself.

I wish I was dead, I wish I was dead

so that I could live with Jesus or is

that I wish I were dead but anyway

I've got to live until I die, which makes

sense, but that's still time I could be spending

with God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost

if there's time in Heaven, maybe it's just

eternity up there, and of course folks

say that God is with you, you meaning me

but anyone else, too, goodhearted

anyway, He created you, there it

is. But can happiness on earth compare

to Heaven's, Heaven's brand of happiness?

I could kill myself and find out but at

Sunday School Miss Hooker says that killing

yourself is an unforgivable sin

and will land you in Hell for sure and if

we don't believe her, we can try it but

I think she's just bluffing by that. And God

knows what I'm thinking even before I

think it and if I think of suicide

I could be sorry. After church today

I asked Miss Hooker if Jesus didn't

kill Himself when He sacrificed but she

shushed me and rolled her eyes toward the roof,

I guess that's where God hangs or at least in that

general direction. Then I asked her

if God wasn't a murderer because

He let His only begotten Son be

put to death but then Miss Hooker's mouth went

as wide as I ever hope to watch it,

nice pink tongue and gums or no, and then she

had me kneel with her in prayer, she pushed

me down, not too hard but hard enough, so I

sank and so did she, we fell together

and prayed that I'd get saved, at least she did,

prayed I mean, I was just mouthing the words

and what came out wasn't even air and

then we said Amen and rose again, rose

to our feet that is, not from the dead, but

then again I did feel better and not

for bending God's ear so much as being

able to see Miss Hooker smile. If we

both were dead, I wouldn't feel so alone.

General Direction

Gale Acuff has had hundreds of poems published in a dozen countries and is the author of three books of poetry. He has taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine.

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