I love Miss Hooker so much it isn't
even love or love isn't good enough
a word for it. I'm still searching for one.
She's my Sunday School teacher and every
Saturday night I dream about her--us,
I should say: we're married and sitting on
the sofa, eating caramel fudge and
watching cartoons and The Price is Right and
Merv Griffin and American Bandstand.
Then I yawn and she yawns and then we yawn
together--yawning's contagious (that means
it's catching, like the flu or mono). So
we go to bed and I turn off the light
on the nightstand on my side and then I
hold her close and say Good night, Darling, and
the next thing I know I wake up alone
on Sunday morning and it's time for church.
And Sunday School, which matters more to me.
I'm 10 to Miss Hooker's 30 or so
even in my dreams--it doesn't matter
there, though, because, in dreams, anything goes.
Being up is where you can't get away
with what you really want and puts an end
to what you have in dreams--that's Miss Hooker
for me. The lesson for today was love,
something about if I have something else
but don't have love then I'm like sounding brass
or a tinkling cymbal, whatever that
means--sometimes I don't pay attention, she's
so beautiful and I just want to look,
not listen. Oh, and something about if
I speak with the tongues of men and angels
but have not love then I'm plain old
noise. So maybe I get it after all.
After Sunday School I walk Miss Hooker
to her car and open the door for her.
I want to tell her I dream about her
and I love her and therefore I have love
and could never be just sounding brass or
a tinkling cymbal, and love is kind--but
my words never make it past my lips
and my thoughts never make it into words so
she just says Thank you, Gale, and shuts her door
and puts on her safety belt and shoulder
harness and waves or is blessing me
and puts the gearshift into Drive and leaves
(she does look into the rearview mirror
but at her makeup and not back at me)
and I stand there watching her pull out of
the driveway and moving down the street and
disappearing. I guess she's going home.
I wonder what it's like there. She's too old
to be living with her folks like I do,
my folks I mean, not hers. She has the run
of her digs and can even dance around
naked if she wants to, and curse, and stay
up as long as she likes, and eat ice cream
until she's sick. And then go off to work
and have Saturday off, I'll bet, and on
Sundays I'll see her again. And when she
dies then I will, too. And then I'll be grown.
Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Worcester Review, Danse Macabre, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, and many other journals. Gale has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008), and has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.