“Rattled” by Gale Acuff

I’d like to be dead for a few minutes
and then alive again and report what
I saw or if I’m not allowed that then
keep to myself the truth of the life to
come although I’m not sure what to do with
that information, maybe I’ll write poems
about it or, even better, books or
even even better screenplays because
there’s a lot of money in those and when

I die I might as well die rich, was it
Jack Benny who said that if he couldn’t
take it with him then he wasn’t going?
Father liked that one a lot, on his death-
bed repeated it over and over
until he fell asleep for the final
time, the sleep of death I think it’s called though
if sleep’s death then waking in the morning’s

resurrection – but I take it back, there
was Father’s death-rattle in the throat and
to me by his beside and sleepy as
Hell that’s exactly what it sounded like,
a rattle but a baby rattle, my
baby rattle, I guess it was a sign
or a signal, by the time I figure
it out I’ll be rattling off my own, then
greeting Father again in the After-

life, which will be like life but an echo
like the son to the father and death to
life and day to night and Benny funny.



Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Chiron Review, McNeese Review, Adirondack Review, Weber, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, Poem, South Dakota Review, 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). Gale has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

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