Poem: Crime of Passion

By: Gale Acuff

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In the middle of her story about
Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life
I fell in love with Miss Hooker, she’s my
Sunday School teacher and death’s hard enough
to live with but to think that it will slay
her one day makes me sick. Slay means kill but
it sounds better, and what I mean is worse.
And then she’ll be dead and because I’m 10
to her 25 I’ll be without her
until I die myself, unless of course
I die first, get slain somehow, or maybe
she dies on her way home from church today
in her little Chevy Nova with her
mind on God and not on the oncoming

Fruehauf that strays across the center line
–she doesn’t notice until it’s too late
and there’s a wonderful crash like I like
to see in movies and late-night TV.
But when I get the news that she’s defunct
I feel like I’ve been in a wreck myself
though that’s easy for me to say. It’s good
in a way because she’s in Heaven now
and doesn’t have to wait anymore like
the rest of us poor souls still alive. I
guess I’ll go to her funeral, even
visit her at the mortuary and
creep up to her where she’s lying and think
how good she looks asleep even though she’s
only dead. I was hoping to ask her

to marry me one day, when I was grown,
16 at least to her 31, but
now I guess it’s too late–unless Jesus
wakes her and she straightens up, Dracula’s-
bride-like though she’s no vampire, and turns her
head and says to me, God wants us to wed
one day so He sent me back. She gives me
her hand and I help her out but her friends
and family have all run away or
fainted and something tells me that we’ll be
in the newspapers tomorrow, even
on TV. If miracles are all they’re
supposed to be, I guess it could happen.
Then she’ll go back to teaching Sunday School

just like before, and when I’m 16 I’ll
ask her for her hand and hope she’ll agree
like she all but promised she would but if
she stalls or hems and haws or even turns
me down I hope I can control myself
and not commit a crime of passion like
they do on detective shows on the tube,
the bad guys I mean–for that I’d get Hell
after they execute me or slap me
in jail until I die but Miss Hooker
will go to Heaven, that’s dead certain,
which is what she deserves anyway, she’s
too damn good for this sorry sinful world.
But maybe they’ll let me visit her grave
at least once before they fry me or slam
the cell door on me for keeps. Then I’ll shout
Miss Hooker, come forth! If she digs her way

up through the earth we’ll make the news again,
but if nothing happens this second time
I can live with that. I hope she can, too.

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