Fall 2023

Nobody loves me and they never did

By Gale Acuff

and least of all God Almighty I shout
at my Sunday School teacher after she
tosses me out of class for dozing off
during the Lord’s Prayer, the third time we
say it—a few more seconds and I would
have been safe but she kept us all over
until we said it correctly and with
feeling and me leading us, shouting it
from in the hallway and then the Amen
which before I couldn’t quite make it to
and my classmates with ugly looks pushing
me aside as they all run out to play
in the cemetery, picnic this time

and me thinking Eat, this is my body.

Nobody loves me like they ought to or

should maybe I should add, I’m ten years old
and win my share of spelling bees and serve
on the School Safety Patrol and make B’s
most of her time and might join the Scouts and
borrow library books and read them or
at least study the pictures and not just
glance at ’em and save 50% of
my weekly allowance and pick up my
room and do chores and when Mother asks Do
you want to do something for your country

I snap to attention and say Yes ma’am
and she says Please take out the garbage
—I never can remember that I’m her

fool. Maybe I don’t love myself enough.


Gale Acuff has had hundreds of poems published in a dozen countries and has authored three books of poetry. His poems have appeared in Ascent, Reed, Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, The Font, Chiron Review, Poem, Adirondack Review, Florida Review, Slant, Arkansas Review, Maryland Literary Review, North Dakota Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Roanoke Review, War, Literature & the Arts, and many other journals. Gale has taught tertiary English courses in the US, PR China, and Palestine.

Fall 2023