For The Sake Of Appearances

by Gale Acuff

I don’t want to die and go to Heaven
or Hell — Hell, I don’t want to die at all
but want to live forever where I am
now, here on Earth where I’m ten years old and
have a lot of fun, well, except for
regular school but Sunday School is all
right, there aren’t any tests until Judgement
Day anyway and all I have to do
is stay awake, which is easy enough
when we sing or march around the room but
as for prayer, it puts me to sleep, which
is probably good practice for when I’m 
dead but anyway I don’t want to die
like I say, or if I must I’d rather
spend Eternity down here, Earth that is,
where I could live forever and hornets
wouldn’t sting nor pizza gets cold unless
I like it that way, for breakfast I do
and training my mutt is actually
fun for us both and I might even teach
my sister’s cat and I never get sick
though if I should it’s never for very 
long and if I finally do have to
expire and God takes my body away
from me, my soul I guess it is, my spirit
maybe, consciousness even, awareness
or whatever, I’m not separated
from it, I lie inside it lying in
the ground and when we’re in agreement and
ready we can rise again and shake off
the dust and leaves and grubs and snail shells and
bugs’ carcasses and grass and twigs and live
again, at least on our feet, and retire
once more and have a rest, one which we don’t
really need but for appearance’s sake, that’s
what Mother would say and she died last year
so she should know and I can still hear
her say it just as if I was dead my
-self. I’ve never felt so goddamn alive.

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