One day when I’m dead I’ll be alive is

how they put it at church and Sunday School

and sometimes I believe and sometimes I don’t

and for the times I don’t then if I die

during I’ll wake up dead in Hell but for

those times when I do then I’m guessing that

I live forever in Heaven instead

of burning and burning and burning in

Hell and burning some more, never burning

out, kind of like that burning bush but that’s

not the same burning as there is in Hell

or is it, when I ask Miss Hooker to

clear these matters up for me after class

we’re usually fallen to our knees

in prayer and she’s usually who’s

doing the talking, the praying any

-way, while I listen with my eyes shut, when

I’m not peeking, that is, she’s awfully

pretty for 25 and I’m only

10 so she’s old and my head bowed and hands

folded and by the time it’s finished

and I pull my praying hands apart my

palms are wet, sweaty I guess, and sometimes

they make a sound like a kitten pooting,

not that I’ve ever heard that before nor

smelled it for that matter but it’s not half

bad and by the time we’re on our feet I

confess I feel better, God touches me

but not really how Miss Hooker’s hoping

for and I’m feeling wiser because God

doesn’t want me to believe in God and

I sort of get to have belief and dis

-belief at the same time, contradiction

is what it is or call it religion

or imagination or the super

-natural but for Miss Hooker it’s my

weekly dose of the Holy Ghost and one

day she’ll be dead, too, but I wouldn’t change

that even if I could. Or I couldn’t.


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