“Irresistible,” by Gale Acuff

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Irresistible

I love you, Miss Hooker, I tell my dog
but his real name’s Caesar. I’m practicing
for after Sunday School next week when I
can get her alone and tell her how I
feel but I also need to think about
what to say when she tries to talk me out
of love and not just love but sweet romance
because she’s 25 and I’m only
10 so if there’s any future for us
the numbers are going to have to bend
and I don’t know what I’ll say, except that
every night I’ve been praying that God
will do something about our ages, He
must know that He got them wrong when He made
us, made us so far apart in age that
fifteen years seems like a century but
numbers don’t count for anything when there’s
love. And I’ll tell her that I’ll grow up fast
—in six years, maybe sooner, I’ll shave and
drive and have a deeper voice and even
quit school if I want—and I want—and find
a job and make some money and save up
for a diamond ring, for Miss Hooker
I mean, not me, and maybe a used car
to haul her around in but I’ll wash and
wax it weekly so it’ll still look sharp
and then propose to her and by then God
will have answered my prayer and broken
her down and anyway doesn’t Mother
say I’m irresistible to women?
My folks had me though I don’t know how and
when I ask them they just smile and say Wait
and see
and I’m still waiting but I’ll bet
Miss Hooker knows, I’d better learn before
we’re married but we’re running out of time
because when I’m 16 then 31’s
her number, which means that she’ll have about
nine years left until she’s good for nothing
but to hang on the porch and rock and I
don’t mean rock ‘n’ roll. Still, I’ll be faithful
and thankful when her time comes that I’ve been
so loyal. Then I’ll find another wife
probably younger than I am and tell
her stories about Miss Hooker to give
her something to shoot for. I ask my dog
Will you marry me, and drop to one knee
but whenever I do he jumps on me
and over we go and over again
and if I didn’t know better I’d say
that he was trying to tell me something
and that’s Forget Miss Hooker but he’ll be
like our first baby, only hairier
and with twice as many legs and a tail.
And a limited vocabulary.
After Sunday School this morning I walked
Miss Hooker to her F-150. She
stepped up and in and I saw the back of
her right thigh, that’s what that part is called, and
got kind of excited like folks can get
on their wedding day as seen on TV,
I mean up until they turn the lights out.
I wonder what they’re doing in the dark
besides sleeping and snoring and dreaming
or hugging and kissing and going on
about what they have to do tomorrow.
I know what I’d do, even though I don’t.

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Gale Acuff has had poetry published in many literary magazines and journals and has authored three books of poetry. He has taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine. Gale currently teaches literature at Sichuan University for Nationalities, Sichuan province, China.