church

Sacrifice

by Gale Acuff

Miss Hooker’s my Sunday School teacher and
she says that if you kill yourself you go
to Hell hands down, there’s no hope for Heaven
because suicide–it’s called suicide
–is sin and almost the worst one there is,
the worst one being I forget, maybe
not believing there’s a God at all. Me,
I believe but that doesn’t mean I’ll go
to Heaven when I die, no, I’ve got to
stop my sinful ways, no more chewing gum
in class here and at regular school and
no more cheating on quizzes and no more
not cleaning my plate during meals and no
more talking back to Mother and Father,
especially Mother, she’s not as strong
as Father and can do me less damage
and what that is is cowardice, I don’t
need Miss Hooker to tip me off to that,
so now I’m wondering if I’m not saved
already and don’t even know it, or
didn’t, but now I do, or sort of. But
I don’t feel much like praying or singing,
religious songs anyway, or going
to church and Sunday School any more than
I do now, or spreading the word of God,
witnessing is what our church calls it. No,
what I really what to do is die just
enough to know what it’s like but also
enough not to have to lay down my life
for good and the best way to do that is
bump myself off but only barely. Yawn.

###

I have had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Concho River Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. I have 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).

I have taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.