I never had Mr. Harvey for class
But everyone knew him
You could see him in the school assemblies
Standing beside the fire escape door
Always a coat and tie
He would smile, barely
When the cheering reached fever pitch.
I found out much later
That the stories about him were true
He had served on a PT boat
In the Pacific in 1944
Making deliveries to the big warships
Sailing through enemy fire.
He was short and had no reputation
For being a great teacher
Or great at anything
But the school changed when he died
As much as if the place had been stripped
Of its roof.