I’m going to die one day and meet God

and Jesus and the Holy Ghost and He’ll

judge my immortal soul, I mean God will

but then at our church God and Jesus and

the Holy Ghost are the total package

though Miss Hooker calls them the Trinity

but however much religion will con

-fuse folks I expect to know the truth when

it’s too late, which is never too late when

you’re dead, I figured that one out all by

myself but anyway He’ll judge my soul

as fitter for Heaven or Hell, God will

that is and maybe with some input from

Jesus and the Holy Ghost and come to

think of it they say that Jesus is God

but in the form of man and so to say

that God is dead is pretty accurate

save that He rose from the dead, after three

days I think it was and what is it with

the number three? but anyway I guess

you could say God was dead and then just how

many days that was so, I mean if it

was so or just an illusion, bigger

than even religion’s an illusion

that is but don’t quote me, I’d never tell

it around church and I’m only 10 so

I want to wait a few years until they

brand me as some kind of troublemaker

or God does, maybe He’ll mark me like Cain

or with the number of the Beast but half

the time I can’t even remember my

Social Security number–do I

have one anyhow? I can’t remember

that, either, but today after Sunday

School I told Miss Hooker, who keeps wanting

me to get saved, that I won’t cause any

problems until I’m old enough for her,

to marry I mean, I mean old enough

to shave and drive like she does now, she shaves

her legs anyway, and have a deeper

voice, I’ll have that I mean but I’ve noticed

that even girls’ voices change, not quite as

deep as a boy’s will dive but still you

can hear it, it happened to my sisters

and their underpants, too, but I mean with

blood in that respect, that’s a deepness, too,

when I told Miss Hooker that her face went

red, I’d say with blood but not to her face,

so I asked her if she was hot and I

offered to open a window but we

haven’t got one in our portable

trailer-classroom, just the door hanging but

we had it shut because of too much wind

and then I offered to thrust my fist through

one of the walls and give us some relief,

sometimes burning’s contagious, I don’t know

why I said it, exactly, but I bet

I do when I’m older and probably

not think twice about it, and then she smiled

as if I was stupid but lovable,

like Mother does to Father when they go

to bed early nearly every Friday

night. Now I know what it means to have young.

About the Author

Gale Acuff 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 also 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 taught tertiary-level English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.