Gale Acuff: “Hard”


Nobody loves me, not even Jesus
is how I feel sometimes, when I’m depressed,
which is pretty often and I’m only
ten years old, so I’ve got the rest of my
life to be unhappy, I’m unhappy
because I’m in love with my Sunday School

teacher, Miss Hooker, but she’s 25,
which isn’t young and what’s worse I’ll never
catch her until we’re both dead and that means
we’ll be the same age though I’m not sure how
I know that, some things you just do, such as
I’m alive or I’m hungry or I need
to pee. After Sunday School today I
cornered Miss Hooker, kind of, I mean that

I found her alone in our classroom when
she was putting her church-gear away, her
red Bible especially, isn’t red
the color of the Devil? Anyway,
I asked her if she’d marry me when we’re
both dead, in the life-to-come, but she said
No, Gale, there’s no marriage in Heaven, read
your Good Book, so then I asked her, Well, could
we live together, then? She hollered, Shack
in sin together in heaven? It was
less a question than an exclamation
but it was both, she’s good that way, I’ll bet
Jesus was, too, or I guess still is, if
there are any stupid questions like mine
in Heaven. Goodbye, Gale, she said--see you
next Sunday, so I said Yes ma’am and left.
How do you know when a woman’s playing

hard to get? It doesn’t feel like peeing,
more like not being able to so no
wonder some folks are more comfortable
with Satan–he knows how it feels to be hurt.
So does Jesus but maybe He forgets.


Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Poem, Adirondack Review, Coe Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Arkansas Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, South Dakota 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). He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

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