I’m trying to dig a hole to China
this Sunday morning. I’ve laid out of church
to do it and I suppose God’s watching.
I feel as if He’s glaring down at me
but it’s really the sun–we see it more
than we see God but we worship God more.
Or maybe we don’t but just think we do.
And of course we see the moon a lot, too.
It would be like Jesus–I’m not sure why
but while I’m at it there are all those stars
at night, though they’re always out there, even
in the light. They’re like angels, I suppose.
Satan’s at the center of the earth, where
it’s hot, even hotter than here, right now.
I’m tired. I’ve been shoveling all morning
and maybe I’m just a few inches deep
but if effort counts for anything then
I’m well into something. That’s what God’s for
–to give me credit when even I won’t
do it. I’m hot and thirsty and hungry
and homely and lonely and stupid and
maybe I’m deeper than I think but just
haven’t got enough faith–if I had faith
then I’d know how far gone I really am.
If I were a true believer then soon
I’d be at the center of the earth or
breaking through to a cave or tunnel and
following it down to the middle or
sneaking around the walls of Hell to find
China just waiting on the other side.
But I’m already on the other side
–my own: it’s the other side to China.
So I’ve reached my destination but it’s
where I’ve begun. And if I’d really gone
I’d just be coming back again (I think),
so I’ve come full circle without leaving.
It’s a pretty neat trick, to come back home
without leaving it. A miracle, even.
Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Poem, Adirondack Review, Coe Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Arkansas Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. He has 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).