poetryrepairs 16,09:107

GALE ACUFF : "Jesus Wept"
GALE ACUFF : Miracle

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"Jesus Wept"

After Sunday School today I walked out our portable classroom building door with the other students but then let them go on without me--I wanted Miss Hooker to talk to me one on one and face to face about religion because I have questions like always and I'm ten years old with what she calls my immortal soul so I'm just trying to be careful, there's death everywhere just waiting for me, she says, no one knows when God will call him or her to judgement and she's 25 and I listen to my elders, they've got more sense or at least more dollars, ha ha, and at regular school we don't talk about God, usually it's Darwin and he makes better sense than the Bible but still I seem to need something else--superstition's not all bad, not at my age, but like I say I turned around and came back in our door and crept up to Miss Hooker, she was slipping her Good Book into her pink purse and just when she had thing all zipped tight or is that tightly, I asked her if Jesus when He was told that Lazarus was dead and that's why the relatives were weeping, weeping means crying but with dignity Miss Hooker says, started weeping, too, and answered, Yes indeed, Gale, it's in your Bible and your workbook, too, be sure that you read it, and I said that then He hollered to Lazarus to come forth and He must've hollered pretty loud--loudly?-- because it took and out Lazarus came, you've got to have some luck to roust the dead. Yes Gale, she said, Jesus was so moved by the family's grief that He brought Lazarus back to life. I couldn't help but whistle --that's probably a sin in Sunday School but Miss Hooker didn't seem to mind. So then I said, If you should die, God forbid, before your time is due I'll try to weep and not just cry or even try wailing and maybe that will get Jesus down here to bring you back like He did Lazarus. Miss Hooker frowned at first but then she smiled and said, Don't you worry about me, Gale, I think that I'll be happy in Heaven and not want to return to earth. I said, If you go there, but I wish I hadn't because I made Miss Hooker's face look like I killed her but she wasn't quite dead yet. I'm sorry, ma'am, I said--that was Satan making me say that. But I can't blame him, I can sin pretty well without his help, thank you very much. I walked Miss Hooker to her truck and opened her door for her and apologized again, her window still rolled up, she never rolled it down and it July but just fired her engine and practically burned rubber out of there, leaving me alone on the asphalt so hot the soles of my only dress shoes were starting to stick to it. When I die I want to go to Heaven just barely long enough to see if Miss Hooker's there since I expect to go to Hell myself and will be so busy being tortured I won't have time to sweat about much. But the truth is that I'd raise all the dead if I could. It's easier than weeping.

poetryrepairs #228 16,09:107


In regular school there's no but here in Sunday School there's God every Sabbath and Jesus and the Holy Ghost to boot but what I like most about Sunday School is not tests nor quizzes and Miss Hooker, she's our teacher, hardly ever asks us anything about our reading from our workbook for that Sunday's class, all I have to do is stay awake and pray along with her and my classmates and sing some hymns and maybe march around the room to my favorite, "Onward, Christian Soldiers," because as far as I know, nobody gets hurt, Jesus already took most of it when He died on the Cross for my many sins like swiping gum from the drugstore and then chewing it in Sunday School class and not feeding the dog, it's just that I forget, and talking back to Mother and sneaking a puff from Father's Chesterfield when he's out of the room, I mean that Jesus was who got hurt, not that He hurt others but then again He did blow his top when He threw the loan sharks out of the temple and there's the time that He made a tree wilt, I forget why, and yelled at Satan to get out of His hair--Get thee behind me--and when he drove those devils into a herd of swine, swine's fancy for "hogs," or is it flock? Me, I can forgive Him all these things seeing as how He died for my sins so that when I die I don't go to Hell and burn, at least I won't if I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and I'm game for anything that keeps me from torture in the Bad Place, what have I got to lose? Miss Hooker doesn't put it quite that way but then she's 25 and I'm only 10 but maybe one day God will answer the only prayer I ever pray when I'm not in Sunday School anyway, that He will take the average of our ages and one day Miss Hooker and I will wake to be 18 and what's more know why we are. This is what I'd call a miracle --high time for something good to happen to me anyway and Miss Hooker, too, I'll bet and we'll be Adam and Eve all over again, and naked, I guess. Damn.

poetryrepairs #228 16,09:107


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GALE ACUFF has poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Coe 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.

GALE ACUFF has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.