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Sunday School

Miss Harper says that death is like the end
of the rainbow but the beginning of
being rich because there’s a pot of gold
and what it is is life everlasting
in Heaven, but only if we’ve been good
and haven’t sinned too much and when we have
asked God to forgive us, in the name of
Jesus, but if we haven’t then we’ll go
to a different kind of afterlife
in Hell and burn and burn and be tortured
forever by Satan and not just him
but all his devils. And we don’t want that.
Doing bad’s like sliding down a razor
blade into a bathtub of alcohol

and alcohol feels cool to the skin but
if you have a cut then it burns like fire
and I’ll have a big one because sliding
down that half of the rainbow that’s razor
will damn near slice me in two. Miss Harper
didn’t say that but I read between her
lips. Maybe I’ll be dead before I die
but I guess that’s what sin is anyway,
dying before death. Me, I’d like to stay
on top of the rainbow, which would mean I’d
never die and I almost raised my hand
to tell Miss Harper so but she cut me

off since it was almost time to leave and
we always say the Lord’s Prayer, the one
that Jesus wrote Himself, or maybe God
wrote it for Him but since the two are one
even though they’re Father and Son and I
haven’t even mentioned the Holy Ghost,
that makes three, I guess it doesn’t matter.
I wonder what Satan says before he falls
asleep. It came to me when we were near
the end, the end of the Lord’s Prayer, that
Amen and so I missed saying it but
since we all say it together no one
heard what I didn’t say. I heard thunder.  


Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Ottawa Arts 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). Gale teaches literature courses at Sichuan University for Nationalities, in China.