Letter to a Hated Teacher

You nearly ruined school for me.
I was not being disrespectful.
I wanted to explain what any fool
would have noticed — all my sums
off by one.

Perhaps now you could tell me
what I don’t remember —
how well I played with the other children,
how straight I sat in my chair,
how quickly I learned French.

I still see you at the head of the class,
the sunlight in the courtyard behind you,
your black hair tied severely into a bun,
your stern face, your dark brown eyes
staring at me. How beautiful you were.

Ronnie Hess

Ronnie Hess

Journalist and poet Ronnie Hess began her broadcasting career at Wisconsin Public Radio. In the 1980s, she was a reporter/producer for CBS News in Paris, before returning to public radio in the Twin Cities and Chicago. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks and two culinary travel guides, Eat Smart in France (2010) and Eat Smart in Portugal (with Joan Peterson, 2017). She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Her webpage is www.ronniehess.com