Monday, February 5, 2018

A Poem by Gale Acuff


If nobody loved Jesus I wonder
how He'd feel--lonelier than crucified
maybe?  Here in Sunday School I sit by
myself in one corner, the other desks
crowd me in here but Miss Hooker doesn't
seem to mind, she's our Sunday School teacher
and I'm the first one here Sunday mornings
and since this seat seems lonely I always
go for it.  Sometimes I see her before
anyone else does, Miss Hooker I mean,
and she always asks if I wouldn't be
more comfortable sitting in the middle
of my classmates, they won't be showing up
for a good fifteen minutes anyway
but I tell her no, or No ma'am--thank you,
and that takes care of that but behind her
on the wall there's that little Jesus-doll
on the Cross, He's wearing just a loincloth,
we learned about those in regular school,
and He's nailed up the way He normally
is and His head's drooping, drooping to one

side.  His eyes are shut.  Is He asleep or
dead or maybe both?  I'd read my Bible
but unless it's Moses parting the Red
Sea I can't get too excited and for
that matter I can watch the movie and
I'm not good with Crucifixion, it hurts
like Hell is how it looks and if I'm in
pain by just looking it must be awful
to go out that way whether a body
rises on the third day after or nix.
If Jesus cracked just one eyelid He'd spy
the nape of Miss Hooker's neck, that's how well
lined up the two of them are and I guess
I'm not surprised.  He never looks at me
--I'm way off in one corner anyhow
--but if He did I bet I'd never have
any more problems with staying awake
until Miss Hooker sets up free fifty
minutes later.  Because I was the first

I'm the last to leave, tucked away like that
in one corner, even Miss Hooker's out
the door before I am, she has to run
to talk to Preacher Green, she's told us.  It's
a sin to lie.  I'm not sure if she is.
If I had any guts I'd stay inside
and walk up to Jesus there on the wall
and ask Him.  If He told me then I guess
He'd also stop me from being scared stiff.
I'd thank Him by saying how much I love
what He said when He said, Render unto
Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God
that which is God's.  Sometimes He just kills me.

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, McNeese Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem, Adirondack Review, Weber:  The Contemporary West, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Orbis, 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).  Gale has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

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