Sidey’s weekend theme is “The Hat.” Immediately I started singing to myself:
“My hat, it has three corners,
Three corners has my hat.
And had it not three corners,
Then it would not be my hat!”
In an effort to get that little ditty out of my head (thanks a heap, Sidey!), I have made an effort to move away from My Hat to The Hat. So here goes:
I see it hanging there, on the peg
Where my friend had put it.
Unprepossessing, it was just
An ordinary hat.
Not a cap – no games to play or watch.
No “expand-a-size” plastic straps
Imprinting the forehead, when
Wearing the cap with the brim in back.
Not Bowler, nor Top-hat, nor Panama;
Nothing jaunty that calls attention
To the weather or the wearer.
He’d walk in the door, toss it on the peg.
Each time he left, save one,
He would retrieve it, don it again.
Tipping it to me as he walked out the door –
Just a hat. His hat. The hat.
A deep muddy brown, well worn
Broken in, it settled over his ears
Just so. The brim shadowing his face,
It was just large enough to deflect sun and rain.
Seeing the hat suspended on the peg,
I notice the wilting brim.
Darkly mottled, stained by use, well-thumbed
With years of subtle adjustments.
I lean closer to observe it where it hangs.
Not daring to touch it, I will not alter it.
I inhale the embedded scent of his hands, his head
A musky-sweet odor of time, damp hallways, other pegs.
I leave it there to remember his face
Always in my memory, framing his aura.
It is precious, it will not be moved
From the peg where it hangs.
With the back of my hand,
I swipe at a tear that has escaped
From my eye. I will not cry.
It’s just a hat. An ordinary hat. His hat.
I guess we all have memories. Things that stay with us, despite the passage of time. Most of mine are good ones. Just like the hat. It is enough. . .