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Who put the Sun in Sunday School? I love

Miss Hooker, my teacher, with her red hair

which is a lot like the sun or would be if

it had hair, red hair. I've seen some photos

of the sun's corona and those flames, red,

which jump off the surface like Miss Hooker's

own when she leans over or tosses it

as she's laughing or crying or telling

us about the old folks in the Bible,

their stories, like David and Goliath

--David cut off Goliath's head and held

it high, I think by the hair, Miss Hooker

showed us a picture. Most of the girls

in the classroom screamed but we boys called it

cool, which it was, and God thought so, too, not

that I'd ever cut off Miss Hooker's head

or even her hair, not unless she asked

and even then I'd try to talk her out

of it, cutting off her hair I mean, not

cutting off her head, not that I'd do that

if she asked. Which she won't. If someone tried,

say she has a crazy beau (I know that

she's not married, she never wears a ring)

I'd cut off his head if it came to it,

I think sometimes love does, comes to killing

I mean. Look at Jesus. He was the Son

of God but that didn't make Him special

as far as dying horribly I mean,

and it was in God's plan anyway so

I could get saved and not go to Hell and

burn forever in flames even hotter

than those that jump off the sun. Talk about

pain. And not just pain but pain eternal

so I have to be good or I'll go to

Hell, Miss Hooker says, for too many sins.

I wonder how many are too many.

I asked her that after class this morning.

She took off her glasses--she was naked

in her eyes---and she looked dead-on at me.

One, she whispered--one's one too many.

She put them back on, her glasses I mean,

then reached into her purse to find something

--a brush. She started brushing her hair. I

almost asked if I could do it for her

but I don't really trust myself. That's love.




Gale Acuff has 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. He has 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). He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

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