I love Miss Hooker but I don’t know how
to go on unless she marries me but
she’s too old and I’m too young so I just
pray each night before we go to sleep,
not that we sleep in the same bed, that God
will bring us together, I mean closer
than we are now, closer in age of course,
and if that happens it’s a miracle
and if it doesn’t maybe it still is
but I’m too young or stupid, or both, to
understand. Sometimes I want to tell her
how I feel and maybe she’ll give me some
pointers. Last night I dreamt that she did, that
I caught her unawares at Sunday School
by being the first kid to show up for
our fourth-grade class. She was peering into
her compact, that’s what it’s called, Mother’s got
one, too, and studying herself in it,
her reflection that is, and when I cleared
my throat it suddenly snapped shut as if
it had a mind of its own. Miss Hooker
put it back into her blue pocketbook
and snapped that shut, too, then smoothed her hair and
looked at me and all I could say was No
wonder I’m in love with you, and she smiled
and said, What took you so long to get here
and I said,I had to make breakfast for
my parents, and she said, They really should
come to church, too, so I shrugged my shoulders
and made a funny face and rolled my eyes
to the ceiling, also the direction
of Heaven, and said, Parents–what can you
do, and she laughed because she has them, too.
And then I went up to her and we kissed
but she went up to me, too, so we met
halfway. And then I woke and it was time
to rise and dress for Sunday School and drink
my Tang and eat my Kix but instead I
stayed in bed. I don’t know about babies.

~ Gale Acuff

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Ottawa Arts Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. I have 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).

I have taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

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