On a warm Christmas Eve,
A boy and his father walk through
Heavy fog to midnight mass.
Mist dampens the sound of trains,
The roar of mills. Neither speaks
During the dark journey to a stage
With solemn men in robes, candles
Everywhere, the organ’s thunder.
The boy listens to the strange keen
Of the priest, kneels when others kneel,
Takes comfort in the familiar strains
Of Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.
On the walk home a cold rain falls.
The father pulls down his hat,
Turns up the collar of his coat.
The boy, hatless, dreams of standing
At the prow of a ship, moist air
Bathing his face, the rumble
Of engines thrumming against
The mighty Amazon, splitting
An endless jungle night.
The man, yoked by the weight
Of daily tasks and the fear
Of sin, does not dream at all.
Their footsteps tap along
The quiet streets, their figures
Melting into fog, into years.
Gene Kimmet is a retired professor of economics from Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.
He was born in Lima, Ohio, a town with a long history of heavy industrial production. Kimmet worked at a variety of jobs there, including lens grinder, foundry worker, service station operator, and salesman, before receiving a BA in economics from Ohio Northern University. He later earned an MA in economics from Case Western Reserve University and a post master’s degree in economics from Northern Illinois University.
Kimmet has also done extensive graduate work in English and creative writing at Northern Illinois University and the University of Virginia.
His poetry collections include Recollections of My Father (Canopic Publishing, 2015), Skipping Stone (Dream Stone Press, 2000) and In Fee Simple (Stormline Press, 1986.)