THE HAT IN THE SECOND-HAND STORE
She lifts a hat to her head
because her hands can’t grasp a star.
Besides, she’s in a second hand store,
not the northern sky.
And it’s just a mundane shopping excursion
not a folk tale.
But the hat’s Victorian, with real feathers
pinned to the band,
and when it hugs neatly to her hair,
it could be a tiara
or the kind of crown that, in an instance,
turns shepherdess to queen.
She looks at me
with a quizzical
“But where would I wear this thing?”
I’m thinking a quiet stroll through a cheny orchard,
with the wind blowing, and her hand
holding it down, holding herself down,
because she’s so slight, she could
blow away as easily as the hat.
She could pick dandelions in such
She could bend down by a reedy pool
and strum the surface into ripples
with the back of her thin fingers.
She could lift the floppy bream
and draw my face into its lingering shadow
with a kiss long and meaningful enough
to flutter those feathers.
I’d give anything for cherry orchards,
dandelions, reedy pools and kisses.
But she takes the hat off, hangs it back on its hook.
She says it’s not her.
Of course, it’s not her.
-- John Grey