If I loved Jesus any more than I

loved God wouldn’t that be like adultery

--idolatry I mean, at Sunday School

Miss Hooker’s my teacher and she swears God

and Jesus are one-and-the-same so how

can they be two as well and Mother says

after a glass of Manischewitz or

a cup, really, since they don’t shatter so

easily, she said that she and Father

are two hearts beating each to each and then

she sighed, I think it’s what’s they call a sigh,

and also one soul joined in wedded bliss

and then she fell asleep so I couldn’t

ask her what the Hell bliss means but Father

when he finally got home told me that

bliss means a happiness damn-near divine,

I think he must’ve been quoting a poem or some

favorite beer commercial, his, not mine, I

don’t drink, I’m only 10, I don’t drink much

but sometimes Father’s Falstaff when he’s not

looking or is resting his eyes, his way

of saying that the Game of the Week is

dull, and maybe I’ll finish off Mother’s

wine, if that’s what you call it, better drink

it cold or it goes down like 44 

which, if you really want to know, will work

in a pinch and they don’t sell alcohol

to ten-year-old boys and sometimes I think

that if there really is a God, not that

there’s not but work with me here, if there’s

a God then ten-year-old boys could do most

anything they wanted to--Hell, make that

just plain anything, there’s your Perfection

and Paradise and Heaven-on-Earth and

Eden all in one total package but

now back to bliss: then Father said, You’ve been

talking to your mother again and I

said Yes sir, I think she gets lonely all

alone all day and he said Well, she’s not

all alone all day, you’re home from school by

three o’clock (maybe it was the numbers

he spoke, 3:00)--like I say, the world’s

not perfect but maybe that’s not all bad,

if Heaven’s what they swear it is at church

I’d get bored with it really PDQ 

but anyway Father said I’ll look in

on her so he went back to their bedroom

and I went outside to play but didn’t,

I sat on the front porch and instead of

counting cars or moving vans or even

only pickup trucks I counted drivers

which pretty much covers everyone but

I could’ve gotten the same results if

I’d just counted vehicles instead but

somehow it isn’t quite the same, something’s

missing, they don’t tally up in a way

that says the world is round because it’s round

enough. What more could you not want to know?


Gale Acuff


I have had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Poem, Adirondack Review, Coe Review, WorcesterReview, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Carolina Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara ReviewSequential 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.


  1. Spectacular work, Gene! I loved every line and every line flowed naturally into the next.

    So impressive.

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