Ajar · Gale Acuff

After Sunday School today I went home
as usual and as usual found
Mother and Father at the kitchen
table, in old robes and bedroom slippers
and smoking Winstons and slurping Yuban
and waiting for me to go upstairs to
change out of my best and only Sunday
suit into jeans and a tee and tennis
shoes, then come down to fix their lunch and my
own while I was at it but instead I

crossed them up because when I got changed I
slipped outside my attic window and down
the ancient kudzu to the ground and lit
out for church again just to see what God
and Jesus and I guess the Holy Ghost
as well do when nobody's around and
if I could catch any of Them inside
our portable classroom building and sure
enough I peeked through the door – ajar – who
forgot to close and lock it, Miss Hooker
our teacher? and what did I see there in
the dark, darkness that comes only when day's
past lunch and napping through the afternoon,
the sun still high but not so high it lights
the rest of the day as it does morning

but myself, up front in Miss Hooker's chair
or was it just the hymnals stacked as high as
I am tall? Not that I am. But who is?

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, McNeese Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem, Adirondack Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, Slant, Poem, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Orbis, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry, all from BrickHouse Press: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives.