If It’s true that when I die I go to
Heaven like they teach me in Sunday School,
preach me is more like it, then I hope I
do–like it that is, I’m ten years old and
bore pretty easily without baseball
and pizza rolls and tacos and sometimes
both at the same meal, I mean when my folks
go out on Friday or Saturday nights
and leave to me the kitchen and TV,
Jesus, they swear, died so that I wouldn’t
have to and it’s true that I don’t, don’t want
to I mean, to die that is, if I can
just pass fourth grade this year then the future
looks pretty fair, not that I know what it
holds or if I’m the one who has to hold
it or maybe even some of both and after
Sunday School class this morning I couldn’t
keep it in and I don’t mean the Holy
Spirit, wouldn’t I have to keep it out
nor of course what you might be thinking if
you’ve got a dirty mind but in all fair
-ness to you and me it isn’t dirty,
it’s earthy is what it is–after class

I asked Miss Hooker if it’s okay to
sin up a storm when after all Jesus
died for my sins so I only want my
money’s worth and–man–if looks could kill
then she would’ve crucified me, I mean
with whips and chains and pieces of bone and
chunks of metal and thumbtacks, if they had
thumbtacks back in the Bible days, it hurts
like Hell and it didn’t even happen
to me so it’s like magic, the evil
kind but then Miss Hooker got herself to
-gether again and cleared her throat and said
God made you, Gale, and He can unmake you
and then turned her back on me in the door
-way of our trailer-classroom, our church is
as poor as a church mouse, ha ha, I just
made that up, or I didn’t make it up
but I did borrow it and anyway
I watched her take her seat at her desk and
waited for her to look up and say good
-bye to me but instead I said goodbye,
one goodbye for us both, that can’t be bad,
and then turned my back on her and marched
home as usual and while undressing

noticed that my zipper was unzipped and
Miss Hooker didn’t even tell me so
but she must’ve been wise–Hell, it’s her job.


Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Chiron Review, McNeese Review, Adirondack Review, Weber, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, Poem, South Dakota Review, 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). He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated with composers, such Mohammed Fairouz, Mart Epstein, and Rudolf Rojhan, who set several of his poems to music, as well as with choreographers, dancers, musicians and other poets, including Gale Batchelder, and videographers Nate Tucker and Ray Klimek.