A HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE
I’m not ready to get married yet but
when I am Miss Hooker will be my first
choice, she’s my Sunday School teacher and that
will be like marrying an angel and
get me in pretty good with God so that
when I die my chances of going to
Hell won’t be as great as they are now, I
sin a lot for ten years old but I’ll bet that
Miss Hooker, she’s 25, doesn’t know
the first thing about sin except not to
do it. I guess I could teach her but that
would land us both in Hell and me even
deeper because I’ll have led her astray
and that’s a heinous sin, too, as sins go.
After Sunday School today I caught up
to her in the parking lot before she
could drive away. I motioned for her to
roll down her window. She did and asked me
Yes, Gale, what can I do for you? I said
Ain’t you coming to church service today?
She blushed, which was hard to tell because of
her red hair, and said, I can’t come today,I have to see a man about a horse.
I said, Oh–well, I hope he’s a nice one.
She said, Oh yes, he’s a real gentleman,
but she had a funny smile on her face,
almost as if she was lying to me
and maybe even fooling herself. No,
I said, I mean the horse–I hope he’s nice,I didn’t know you liked ’em. Another
smile. Neither did I, she laughed. Well, goodbye,
she said, and waved, while I stood there
watching her ride off into the sunset
and it only eleven o’clock. Damn.
– Gale AcuffGale Acuff’s poetry has been published in Ascent, The Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Concho River 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 others. He has also 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). He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.