Graduate School in English
Wally Sandburg sits across from me
at my small round white-topped table in my
converted garage apartment. I write
the last paragraph of a needless paper
on Yeats. He hasn't started his yet. Wise
man, to save his lust for the best 'til last.
He's brought a bottle of Jim Beam, enough
still left for us both. I don't want any
--I do like a drink, so I don't drink it
anymore. When he was in the bathroom
he was singing, as if in orgasm,
O God, I love to pee, I love to pee.
Hold it down, I said. Don't wake the landlord.
He returns and takes his seat. Pours a drink.
Silence for five minutes. He's trying to
think. And then he says, while my head is bowed
to complete my final sentence, like a
scribe at work, Your mother swallows. I cross
my t and look up. He suddenly adds,
I'm sorry. Like he means it--he never
does, but he seems sincere this time.
I smile. I chuckle. I wonder if she
does, I think. Or did--the last time she saw
my father was eighteen years ago. Could
it be that I had a younger--older?--
brother, sister, lost among her lips, her
throat, her stomach? It's sure something to think
about. It might make a poem. I'll try it
on him now. I start to speak--all that comes
is Give me that bottle. I chug it. Straight.
Four gulps. Without gagging. You mean like that,
I say. I guess I showed him. Mother, too.
- Gale Acuff 2013
- Gale Acuff 2013
Gale has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Ottawa Arts 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 many other journals. I have 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).
Gale has also taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.