Gale Acuff – Ding-dong

Gale Acuff


If Miss Hooker says it it must be so,
that I’m going to Hell when I
die because I sin too much. Sunday School
is what she teaches us and knows a lot
about God and Jesus and the Holy
Ghost but the problem is that I like it,
sinning, I mean, probably too much
but if God’s watching me swipe a packet
of Juicy Fruit from the five & dime then
He must have too much time on His hands, she
calls it eternity does Miss Hooker,
and what that is is time but not the time
we know down here, on earth I mean, with clocks
and watches and ding-dong bells. No, it’s time
without present, past, and future up there
but I’ve got to be good to learn to tell
it for myself, if time can be told there.
And I wonder down in Hell how it is,
if it’s eternity, too, and Heaven
and Hell are in the same time zone, the same
eternity zone, I guess you could call it.
From what Miss Hooker tells me I’ll find out
if I don’t change my ways–it will be too
late for me then and I should’ve asked her
what’s being tardy to eternity
anyway? So sometimes I talk too much
even when my mouth is shut. Miss Hooker
says that God knows what I’m thinking, I don’t
have to say a word for Him to hear me.
I wonder what time it will be when I’m
dead. Oh, I forgot: just eternity
and I’ll live forever in Heaven or
Hell, my soul anyway, my body will
just be recycled into Nature and
that will take time. I wonder how much. Will
I find out in the afterlife? Will I
care that I don’t have a body for time
to tick away? But if eternity’s
forever I wonder how to measure
that. Sometimes I think that Miss Hooker’s not
so smart. Or maybe she’s just ignorant
like I am, but in a righteous way, like
God is. It takes Him an eternity.


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).

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