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“I love Miss Hooker plenty and want to marry her when I’m old enough”

Published onJun 26, 2020

“Brenden” by Graela is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I love Miss Hooker plenty and want to
marry her when I’m old enough, I’m too
young now, 10 to her 25 but some-
day I’ll be the right age even though she’ll
be older too, and by the same number
of years but I won’t mind, love’s got it all
over numbers, at least that’s what I pray
every night, and to me that’s religion

so after Sunday School this morning I
tried to make just that point to Miss Hooker,
I asked her to marry me when I was
old enough, am old enough, I mean, or
is that when I will be old enough or
do I mean the same thing but in three ways
so different, past, present, and future,
so different that all three mean the same,
kind of like God, Jesus, and the Holy

Ghost, that other Trinity, that is, or
maybe it really isn’t? Miss Hooker
said to me to ask her if she’s
single and if I’m still bent on her,
ask her again, that is, when the time comes
and only then will she answer me yes
or no or maybe. But I’ve got maybe
right now, I told her, which made her smile and
say Gale, you’re a cunning thing, which must be
good even if it isn’t so so I
must be a third of the way into her

heart, yes will get me married and as for
no, if it comes after yes then I’m safe.
If I tell you yes come then, Miss Hooker
added, we’ll only have a few years to-
gether before I pass away. I said
Yes ma’am, fine, but if you have a little
sister then she can take up where you left
off. Then she laughed and said that she admires
a man who knows exactly what he wants.
Yes ma’am, I answered—I’m the same damn way.

Gale Acuff has had hundreds of poems published in several countries and is the author of three books of poetry. He has taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine.

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