Gale Acuff

Fallen Arches

One day Miss Hooker’s going to have
to die and if I’m still around myself and
know about it you can bet that I’ll cry my
share and not just cry but sob and not just
sob but weep and not just weep but lament
and after Sunday School this morning I
told her so, I confessed it with my mouth
you might say, at least Miss Hooker says it,
I’m pretty sure she swiped it from the Good
Book, but she’s our teacher, that’s her job, I
mean to save our immortal souls or die

trying, at least, but anyway I swore
to her after class that if she went to
her eternal reward before I do,
which is likely because she’s 25
to my 10, that I’d be there in person,
in the flesh, in my best Sunday clothes
to enjoy her funeral – no, participate
in it, that is, and then said I’m sorry,
but she wasn’t offended. Miss Hooker
said that she hopes nobody will regret
her death because she won’t since she’ll be

in a better place, Heaven she meant, but she
didn’t have to say it, it’s understood,
like the pronoun you in some sentences,
like when she says Open your Bible to
the Book of So-and-so, verse such-and-such,
or I tell one of my friends Go to Hell,
that’s what we learned in regular school last
Friday – I mean the grammar, not that Go
to Hell – that and a few other things I
don’t really remember, but it doesn’t
matter so long as our principal won’t
hold me back for another year, but in
Sunday School I can only fail if I sin
too much and don’t get saved – then I go

to Hell for eternity and that means
that I’ll never see more of Miss Hooker, no,
unless by some miracle she goes there,
too, or by an even greater one if
I make it into Heaven. Miss Hooker
says that we get new bodies up there,
though the one she has now isn’t too bad. I
wish for muscles and no fallen arches,
I mean for me – I mean on me. Amen.

About the Author

Gale Acuff has published in a dozen countries and has authored three books of poetry. He has taught tertiary English courses in the United States, China, and Palestine.