One day I’ll be dead before I know it
and then I’ll know it, I guess, only too
well but instead of looking backward I’ll
try to see has Eternity any
forward or ahead to it, somehow I
doubt it now but then I’m only alive
and just ten years old to boot and sometimes
I wonder how old you are when you’re dead.
Right now I wish I was old enough to
get married, married to my Sunday School
teacher, Miss Hooker, she’s 25 but
I don’t begrudge that, I don’t hold old age
against her and anyway when we’re both 
dead then I guess we’ll be the same age–how
bad can it really be, the life to come,
at least if you live it in Heaven? But
Miss Hooker warns me that if I don’t get
saved then I could wind up in Hell even though
Jesus died for my sins–if I keep on
sinning then that will be the same as not
believing He’s the Son of God and no
amount of being crucified will save
me from Perdition. Yes ma’am, I tell her
after class–gulp– and try to look ashamed
because if we’re going to be married
one day we need to try to get along,
somehow I think it will mean more children
and I want a big family, however
kids get made, I’m an only child, my folks
quit having them after me, or God stopped
them, I’m not sure, whenever I inquire
they answer, Don’t ask personal questions,
but it doesn’t seem personal to me,
to me a personal question is more
like What’s the meaning of life? or Why was
I ever born? I’ve asked Miss Hooker but
she tells me to pray and read my Bible.
But there’s plenty of time for that after
we’re married and anyway she’s really
saying that because she doesn’t know, so that’s why
she needs me, I mean when we’re alive–when
we’re dead we’ll know too damned much anyway.

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in AscentOhio JournalDescant, PoemAdirondack ReviewCoe ReviewWorcester ReviewMaryland Poetry Review, Arkansas ReviewFlorida ReviewSouth Carolina ReviewCarolina QuarterlySouth Dakota ReviewSequential Art Narrative in Education, 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).