Three Poems By Gale Acuff

When I'm dead I won't regret it, they say
at Sunday School but say we'll see though
not to my teacher there, I keep it to
myself but I don't want to die at all
even if it means eternal life, who
needs that when God is man enough to keep
folks from dying at all and there's plenty
of room on Earth for everyone even
if no one expires--if the universe
can expand then why not the planet and
after Sunday School I told my teacher
that if I was God I'd make a better
Earth than He did but she told me to go
home and think about my blasphemy so
maybe next week I won't be so damn wise.

Sometimes I wish that God would kill me now
so I can go to Heaven to be judged
and if He sends me down to Hell at least
I can say that I've seen Him although I
don't know whom I'd tell, all those folks in flames
will have seen Him, too, before He judged them
and sent them Satan's way, which is God's way,
too, in a strange sort of way, that's what they
say at church and Sunday School but any
-way if I die tomorrow then I won't
have to wait the rest of my natural
life to reach Eternity--I wonder
if God knows that I want to be with Him
so badly I'm willing to go to Hell
and none too soon? I'm too true to be good.

One day when I'm dead I'll be happy is
what I'm told at Sunday School, as long as
I'm in the Good Place and not the Bad but
to get there I have to sacrifice, that's
what Jesus did, they say, I don't have to
be crucified like He was but I'd best
give up most if not all (impossible
they say) of my evil ways and I'm ten
years old and already I've sinned enough
to fetch me Hell if I died tomorrow
or even sooner so if I forsake 
sin now, have short-term pain for long-term gain,
then I won't regret it like the truth is
I do already. Is that good as dead?

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in AscentReed, Poet Lore, Chiron ReviewPoemAdirondack ReviewPoet Lore, Florida ReviewSlantNeboArkansas Review, South Dakota ReviewRoanoke Review, and many other journals in eleven countries. He has authored three books of poetry: 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.

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