"One day you're dead and if you've been bad then," "One day I'll die and go home to Heaven," and "Nobody lives forever, a body"

One day you're dead and if you've been bad then

you go to Hell to burn forever and
it's not just purification but pun
-ishment, too
, my Sunday School teacher swears,
and if anybody knows then she does,
she's an Administrative Assistant
part-time at the local junior college
and has an associate degree in
something-or-other but I'll bet it's good
and we need more Americans like her
to keep telling me I'll pay for my sins
someday, I know she's right because, Hell, she
sounds it and I'm only ten years old so
there's my excuse for . . . something--I'll find out
exactly when I croak. Then watch my smoke.



One day I'll die and go home to Heaven

so they say at church and Sunday School, I
guess I hope they're right, it's better than Hell
maybe and told my Sunday School teacher
so but she smiled like she had a secret
and it wasn't a pleasant one and it
was for me and no one else, not even
her, and asked What makes you think you're going
to Heaven, Gale
, and I answered Well, all
folks go there to be judged and some get to
and then she asked What makes you think
that you'll be one of them
, it was after
class was over and then she told me to
go home and she didn't mean Heaven but
the trailer park. We have wheels but we don't roll.



Nobody lives forever, a body

dies and is buried or burned or
lost but the soul continues, if there is
one, I'm not sure, they seem surer at church
and Sunday School and sometimes even at
regular school but I need evidence
even if I'm only ten years old and
I haven't seen it yet so I'll wait 'til
I die and then see what happens, if I can
still see, ha ha, I just made that up and
it's kind of funny so maybe it's proof
of what I've been talking about, I'm talking
about the Afterlife, I guess, and where
I'll be and why but I might never find
out until I die. If not then, I'll rise.



Gale Acuff

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Chiron Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem, Adirondack Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, Slant, Nebo, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry, all from BrickHouse Press: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives.

He has taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine. Gale recommends the Hero Initiative.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 22:07