Beloved… by Gale Acuff


Beloved by Gale Acuff

It’s almost enough to make me believe
in God–that’s Miss Hooker, my Sunday School
teacher and beautiful, red hair and green
eyes and about a million freckles. Though
she’s old, 25, I’d guess, to my 10,
she’ll have a few good years left before
she goes to meet her Maker, if there is
one. That’d be God. We learn about Him
in class every Sunday, or if not Him
those men and women in the Bible who
swear that He’s worth living and dying for.

I’d like to believe, too. I’d like to be

David after cutting down Goliath
and slicing off his giant head, I mean
Goliath’s, and holding it high for all
to see, including God, I guess, as if
He couldn’t see it anyway. I’ll bet
He looked down and saw that it was good. Poor
Goliath’s parents–how they must have howled.
I prayed for them last night because I cried
too, thinking about them and putting me
in their place. Suppose I had a giant
son who might’ve been bad, evil even,
and God slew him and not just slew him but
had some little wanna-be knock him off

with only a sling and a stone? I’d be

mortified and mournful. Bless Goliath’s
parents, I prayed, wherever they might be,
I hope not in Hell, they deserve better.
I could be wrong. It could be they made him
and were just as guilty. Still, a giant’s
got to stand on his own two feet. If my
folks go to Hell because of my sins then
I guess I ought to go, too. Maybe we
could make up then. Maybe we’d be happy.
As it is I seem to grieve ’em sorely,
failing my arithmetic test last week
and forgetting to feed the dog today
–poor hungry animal, there’s no friend like
a full belly–and swiping Testor’s glue
yesterday and getting caught but I swiped
it because I got no allowance for
failing that test so what goes around comes

around. I wish I was dead for just one

second so I’d know what it’s like and then
come back as if nothing happened and still
remember and then go out among men
and tell them, tell them all, what lies beyond
all this fear we call life but then again
I might want to charge a reasonable
fee because I need to make a living.
Anyway, I bet they wouldn’t bite. No
one would believe me and neither would I
—if I don’t believe me then how could I
believe in God? Which I don’t because God

wants me to use my head. Goliath did

but not like he could’ve. I’m so sorry
I was born but it’s too late now and not
my fault anyway, or maybe it’s not
too late and I can correct the error
by killing myself but I’d never see
Miss Hooker again and this morning I
saw her knees, both of them, shining like bald
babies’ heads. I like kids–I used to be
one. I’d like to make one with Miss Hooker
but I’m not old enough to know how and
when I do find out it will be too late
to go back. Miss Hooker’s almost got me
believing that I can go to Heaven
—Jesus, I’d like to give her a great big

smack. But then I’d just be betraying myself.


Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Ottawa Arts Review, Worcester Review, Verse Wisconsin, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, Amarillo Bay, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. He has also 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). Gale has also taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

Copyright © 2012 by Gale Acuff


2 thoughts on “Beloved… by Gale Acuff

  1. It feels odd I’ve never given thought to Goliath’s parents. It must have been difficult for them, especially if they were normal sized people. The mother might easily have died in childbirth. Goliath was probably a popular name back then, but after the David incident it’s reserved now only for the occasional wrestler, like The Great Goliath, who did not get along at all with Andre the Giant. Good poem.

  2. “I wish I was dead for just one second so I’d know what it’s like and then come back as if nothing happened.” This line reminded me of Tom Sawyer when he in embarrassment wanted to die for a short time.

    Who knows. Maybe we do get this option in the form of reincarnation. Where our bodies here are our temporary lapses into the land of the dead. And then at a indeterminate length of time, we get to go back to the land of the living to tell everyone about our adventures into the underworld.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s