Gale Acuff, two poems


Dirty Joke

I love God a Hell of a lot more than

I love Satan or myself or any

-body else or anything I swear to

Miss Hooker after Sunday School class so

she keeps me after and has me erase

the board and straighten the chairs and empty

the trash and stack the hymnbooks and wash her

desk and chair, for good measure, she says, that's

from the Bible if I'm not mistaken,

shaken, not stirred, no, that's James Bond, then it's

pressed and rolled down, or rolled down and pressed, or

something like that, Miss Hooker hit us with

that last Sunday, I'm only ten years old

but what's happened to my memory? and

when I finished, and to be honest I

was hoping she might pay me for my work

but I guess that's why they call it charity,

somehow you get suckered for working for

free--when I finished Miss Hooker said not

to use a bad word the way that I did

which is the way that Satan does, she meant

that if I say Hell in class I'd better

say it the right way, even after class,

so I had to ask her why Satan must

ever say Hell like a bad word, I mean

he's Satan for Christ's sake, better than sin

in some strange way, I mean he doesn't

need to curse, he's already in Hell and

already damned for Eternity, all

Eternity like Miss Hooker says, why

say the same damn thing especially if