One day I'm going to die and go to
Heaven or Hell but I forget just how
soon, whether I'll wake up dead in Heaven
where God will find, or not, my name in His
Book of Life, or if I have to wait it
out in my coffin until the end of
the world. Miss Hooker is my Sunday School
teacher and she does a good job learning
us 10-year-olds all her Bible knowledge
or at least what we can bear being so
young, compared to her anyway, she's old,
25, but I forget the finer
points of religion so thank God she doesn't
give us tests like in regular school--if
you don't get right answers there, you don't get
credit and without enough of that you
get held back a grade but here in Sunday
School all we really have to do is pray
and sing hymns, it's like praying to music,
and don't fall asleep while Miss Hooker talks
and don't chew gum or throw spit-wads and if
you have to poot go outside in the hall,
if I was in charge, or do I mean were,
you'd go off the church grounds to cut the cheese.
Sometimes I stay after class just to help
Miss Hooker, somebody's got to, straighten
the chairs and stack the hymnals and adjust
the photo of Jesus on the wall and
George Washington--pictures, I mean, and they're
not posing together. Sometimes I sweep,
which is good practice for when I'm a man
and not just a man but a husband, says
Miss Hooker, maybe she'll be sweet on me
one day when I'm 18 or so to her
33, even older than she is
now but that's how you get to Heaven or
even Hell, you age and age and run out
of sand, Father says, by sand he means times,
or sometimes you die in an accident,
God calls you back that way as well so we
need to be prepared, Miss Hooker says, by
getting saved and thanking Jesus for His
Crucifixion so that when we sinners
die we don't go to Hell, Miss Hooker says
if we don't think that Jesus is the Son
of God then that's how we'll get to Hell, or
something like that. All I know is that I
don't want to die at all, I told her so
after I emptied the trashcan for her
today but instead of saying a word
she just leaned over and hugged me and it
was different from being hugged by Mother
or Aunt Pauline or Grandmother Bethel
or my dog when I can get him to stand
and fall toward me. Anyway, I left
without goodbyes. That way, we'll never part.
poetryrepairs #236 v17.04:046
JOHN HORVATH Jr
Too Young, Too Short for Love
TOO YOUNG, TOO SHORT FOR LOVE
that night alone, though proud of his
accomplishment, he lay in bed and wondered
whether he’d been her first, a face and name,
a man forever set apart from other men or had
there been a someone else for whom
she moaned, for whom her arms were meant?
He’d never know, like other men before him
never knew as would those coming after
know where he had been among her list
of long forgotten names. I’d very like
to know, he said almost aloud (the faintest
echo upon his bedroom ceiling broke
and all its fragments were absorbed
by this or that apparel he had too often
promised he would clean and straighten
up). Weren’t there more important things
that he should be about? And, what about
those thoughts that needed close attention
in his unmade bed at night? He rose from
failed sleep in the middle of the night
to phone. It rang and rang and rang quite
much; he figured that she wasn’t home.
Where had she gone? To someone else’s house?
No, he’d left her dead, there was nothing
He should fret about. She couldn’t move.
A petit death, the angels must have lifted
her to heaven when he fell asleep upon
her naked flesh dark as almonds, sweet
as cane, roiling like a rapid river during flood.
And yet… There was no blood. Was that a sign?
He’d heard it was the mark of first fling
or something near to that. My god, sixteen’s
a bitch of time for having sex! No. Hard
as he thought, there was no blood, nor even
a small sign of it. He called her once again.
The phone rang once. Her muffled voice
as if from deepest sleep was there. And,
when he told her his thoughts then asked
whether he’d been first, she’d said, “Don’t
trouble your sad self all night with that;
you were the first and probably the last;
now don’t call back.” So there he sat.
Where he had thought. Alone at night.
What was the name she gave him amid
the rampage of his love and lust: did
she call out “Swarthy” or “Shorty”
(he didn’t know; he likely never would).
He stayed awake all starry night.
poetryrepairs #236 v17.04:046
thank you for reading poetryrepairs|
please link to http://www.poetryrepairs.com/v17/046.html
All the fine arts are species of poetry--Samuel Taylor Coleridge
even as it splits it open.
The Art of Reading
Our Dancing Poet Logo! FIND GIFT BUY GIFT
No state organ: POETRYREPAIRS
accepts NO money from federal,
state, or local governments.
READERS maintain poetryrepairs
NO READING FEE FOR SUBMISSIONS. DONATIONS, while appreciated, WILL NOT INCREASE CHANCES OF BEING SELECTED.
I have many things to write unto you but
I will not write with pen and ink
--JOHN the theologian
REPAIR: resort, frequent or habitual going; concourse or confluence of people
at or in a place; making one's way; to go, betake oneself, to arrive; return to a place; to dwell; to recover, heal, or cure; to renew; to fix to original condition. -- Oxford English Dictionary
read more poetry