Editor’s Note: The author writes from Palestine. The title comprises the first two lines of the poem.
Author’s Note: “I’m interested in youthful speakers who, aware of it or not, deconstruct the adult idealisms (such as religion) into which they’ve been–well, “indoctrinated” may be too strong a word (so perhaps simply “reared”). I get some humor out of this approach, and some seriousness (though what’s more serious than humor?) as I try to present a ten-year-old or so intent on making sense of his community and its values.”
Sometimes you’re dead
When you’re still alive I
tell my Sunday School teacher after class
this morning but she drops her pencil and
beats me to bending for it but kicks it
a few feet across the linoleum
of our trailer-classroom and I wonder
how many cubits from the Bible that
is and I’m ready to ask her but it
looks about the same length as Moses’s staff
and likewise a snake, I’ve seen the movie
five times, that’s once for every finger
not including the thumb, the thumb isn’t
truly a finger but it plays one on
my hand and by the time she picks it up
and looks at me I’ve let her people go.
Gale Acuff has taught university English in the United States, China, and Palestine, where he currently teaches at Arab American University. He holds a PhD in English/Creative Writing from Texas Tech University and has published hundreds of poems in over a dozen countries. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives.
Acuff’s poetry is from the Delmarva Review’s fifteenth annual edition. Headquartered on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the literary journal has published the best new writing of 550 authors worldwide. Almost half are from the Chesapeake and Delmarva region. It is available in paperback and digital from online booksellers and regional specialty bookstores. Financial support comes from tax-deductible contributions and a grant from Talbot Arts with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Website: www.DelmarvaReview.org