top of page

"Letter to Miss McClurg," a poem by Gene Kimmet

Letter to Miss McClurg

I am sorry about being tardy

With this thank you for excusing me

From the last study hall each day

So I could work three hours

After school, grinding lenses.

At sixteen, I did not know why

You drew a line through “three”

On the note I brought and changed it

To “two and a half,” costing me

Half an hour of pay each day

And requiring that I stop

At Al’s Diner for a hamburger

Before going to work.

In that blunt world of smoke and trains

Where remote fathers carried their silence

And despair each morning into the dust

And fire of the mills, I was not honed

To catch the flicker of concern

That visited your stern blue eyes.

Now sixty years have passed

And I do not know where to send

This note to ask your pardon

For missing the intent of that thin

Stroke of ink, a gesture drawn

To put some meat on the bones

Of a skinny kid.


Gene Kimmet's poetry collections include Shadows (Canopic 2019), Recollections of My Father (Canopic 2015), Skipping Stone (Dream Stone Press 2000) and In Fee Simple (Stormline Press 1986.)

bottom of page