• Gale Acuff

Two Poems


Spliced

On Saturday nights I dream about her,

Miss Hooker, my Sunday School teacher, how

we're married and in our living room and

watching TV, not that we really are,

after supper, until it's time to go

to bed, which we do, in the bedroom we

share, the bed as well, and the darkness, not

the scary kind of darkness where you die

or at least monsters try to jump you but

the darkness that bears a little light, God's

shadow, maybe. And next morning when I

wake I wake alone, in time for Sunday

School and the chance to see Miss Hooker

until another week. She's got red hair

and green eyes and freckles and I, I don't

—but I can get them if I marry her

or on our honeymoon admire them. When

she falls asleep and I'm sure she'll stay down

I'll turn the night-light on and start counting

freckles, I wonder if I'll count them all

and if the universe has one for each

one she has, a star for every freckle,

I mean, then I'll feel like God tallying

all His stars, if that's what He does, or has

some angels do it for Him--when I’m dead

I hope He'll send me on patrol that way

so that it will be like seeing the world,

which I wonder if I'll do before I

die, or better, seeing Miss Hooker in

the friendly darkness, just the right amount

of light to help me see that I'll never

hold forever to her, we have to die

and then up in Heaven, if I've been good

enough and of course she'll surely be, it's

eternity is what we'll have but as

for now, ten years old to her 25,

I go to Sunday School and gaze on her,

listen, too, but largely look, because death

is the thing to find at the end of it

all and I don't want to be too afraid

of dying, death is the beginning of

living, don't ask me why, it just feels right.

Before we fall asleep we shake on it.

1966

After Sunday School I see Miss Hooker

to her car and, on the way, imagine

that I'm walking her home from a movie

or pizza or ice cream or stroll around

the duck pond, or sometimes all of these if

I can dream fast enough. When I open

her front door it's her car door again. I

touch it where she touches it when she climbs

in. This is as close as I'll ever come

to taking her hand myself, I guess, since

I'm only 10 and she's 25 and

the difference is--let me think--fifteen

years so there's no future for us. But then

Christ died nineteen hundred and sixty-six

years ago and rose from the dead three days

later so nothing's impossible, if

it's really true. It's a matter of faith,

they say, and if I don't have enough then

I can't go to Heaven and may even

go to Hell. Miss Hooker isn't Jesus

but she's closer to Him than I am--she's

my Sunday School teacher. I guess that means

that Preacher's even closer than she is

and there may be someone closer than he

is, and on and on. I've still got time to

live a holy life and beat 'em all to

heck and if I get an early start then

maybe Miss Hooker will notice and fall

in love with me and maybe God will see

and Jesus, too, Who sits on God's right hand,

and then have mercy on me and work one

of His miracles, maybe stop time like

Joshua stopped the sun, maybe that's kind

of the same thing, until I can catch up

to Miss Hooker and ask her for a date

and of course she'll have to say yes because

it's God's will and not only His but mine,

too, and then there's Jesus, Who has to go

along because He's really God Himself,

or something like that, I'm fuzzy about

the details. And ditto the Holy Ghost.

So I'll take her out for cheeseburgers and

then to the park, where maybe we'll swing

and see saw and the slide's good, too--I'll bring

some wax paper to make the sliding fast,

and then I'll be waiting at the bottom

of the slide to catch her, she'll come down zoom,

and maybe she'll scream like a little girl

but I won't let her plop on her rear end

but save her and while she's there in my arms

we'll kiss and that will be the end of it,

I'll kneel beneath the moonlight or at least

a lamppost and ask her won't she make me

the happiest man in the world and show

her the ring I bought her and God will nudge

her to say Yes, yes, oh yes, Gale, I'm yours

for Eternity or at least the rest