After Sunday School I saw Miss Hooker
crying in the parking lot, at the wheel
of her little Chevy. I was on my way
home, a half-mile walk but I stopped to ask
if I could help her since the story for
today was the Good Samaritan, who
helped somebody he didn't have to help,
someone different, and Miss Hooker surely
is because she's female and old, I'd guess
25 to my 10, and religious
and I'm just a sinful little kid bound
for Hell unless I change my evil ways.
That's what I learn in Sunday School and church
and they should know. If I want chili dogs
I go to the Korn Dawg King, just outside
of town, and if I want God I come to church
to get His grub. I don't go to church for
chili dogs or to the Korn Dawg King for
Jesus, even if He's everywhere, in
my wiener and the blood of my ketchup,
its redness I mean, and the gold mustard
and the bun made out of bread which man does
not live alone by. I can't quite explain
the onions or the relish. I'm not saved
but Miss Hooker is, her soul that is, but
I stopped to ask her if I could help and
she was quick to dry her eyes, poor creature,
and told me that she couldn't get her motor
started so I told her to pop the hood,
the car's I mean, so I could take a look.
I found a loose battery connection,
I was lucky or God was blessing me,
so I slipped it over the terminal
again and tightened it as well as I
could and closed the hood but not all the way
just in case I hadn't cured the patient
--solved the problem I mean--and called, Try her
now, meaning the car, and Miss Hooker did
and, son of a bitch--I mean Glory be
- it came to life. Miss Hooker reached into
her pocketbook and fished out some coin
but I said, No ma'am, it was charity
and your money's no good here, praise the Lord.
So she got out of the car and kissed me
but not on the lips, that would be a sin,
but on the cheek, and I turned the other
and she kissed it, too, then got back in
and I shut the hood and stepped to one side
and she drove away, waving and happy.
So that's how I know that there is a God.
He lives inside me but ought to be free.
Gale Acuff

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Gale Acuff would be pleased to hear them.