Minding Sin by Gale Acuff

I want to get married to Miss Hooker,
my Sunday School teacher, right when I’m old
enough, 16 say to my current 10,
though maybe she’ll be 31, which means that she’s
25 now, so I won’t go to Hell
and burn forever like she says I will
if I don’t stop my sinning or at least
try not to, even though I will because,
she says, everyone sins thanks to Adam
and Eve, or no thanks to them. Then she says
that if the First Parents hadn’t sinned we
would’ve have gotten to know Jesus, He
would never have had to come down and be

crucified even though He ascended
to Heaven. Religion confuses me
sometimes but if I marry Miss Hooker,
who will almost hands-down go to Heaven,
and thumbs-up, too, my chances for going
are a lot better if I don’t, marry
her, that is. I’ll bet she’ll keep me honest
and tell me when I’m sinning and remind
me not to say Hell or damn in front of
our children especially, and since she’ll
always be fifteen years older, at least
until we’re both dead, she’ll probably die

first–of course I’ll miss the Hell out of her
and all that, but if something goes well
I won’t die myself for a few more years,
but when I do and if I mind my sins
’til then, maybe our kids can help me there,
she’ll have had enough time to talk to God
and maybe Jesus and the Holy Ghost
about me, how she wants me up yonder
with her and even can’t live without
me even though she’s got eternal life
and can never die again so I guess
she’d be exaggerating and that’s close

to lying and lying’s a sin but if
anyone can get away with slipping
something past God then it’s Miss Hooker sure.
So if God’s God He’s got to let me in,
either that or let Miss Hooker down and
that’s like not letting the Saints go marching
in or making Moses and his people
swim across the Red Sea or David not
bean Goliath and chop off his big fat
head or Jesus not doing miracles.
Unless, of course, I go to Hell and God’s
so bothered by Miss Hooker that He busts

her down all the way to be with me in
the fiery furnace of Hell, but at least
we’d be together unless Miss Hooker’s
sore at me and gives me extra Hell for
eternity. After class I asked her
how anyone can get to Heaven since
it’s so hard to be perfect like God and
she said even though I’m going to sin
I must try not to and when I do fall
to my knees and beg to be forgiven
as soon as I can do so because if
I die in sin then I’ll wake up in Hell

or at least before the Throne of God, Who
will look for my name in the Book of Life
and if it’s not there then I’m sunk for sure.
She has red hair and green eyes and freckles
and now I think I’ve learned another sin,
what’s called lust but at least I’m not sure just
what to do with it–maybe she’ll show me
one day. I can wait another six years.
I’d say that’s like an eternity but
now I think that every second is. I
wanted to kiss her when I said goodbye
and I damn near did. It’s a sin I didn’t.

I have had poetry published in Ascent, McNeese Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem, Adirondack Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Orbis, and many other journals. I have 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).

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s