Deciding to Wear an Enormous Hat

Charlene Langfur

At first the idea of the hat might have been a cover-up,
a need to move through the world without being seen.

But down deep, I know that wanting led to it
and not the other way around.
The hat became a strange kind of mask, like some feathered piece, a
shaman’s tool,
a frontispiece for a new beginning.
It held me in place, a marker, a divot for the spirit.
The idea of it wilder, greater than the actual hat could ever be.

The hat marked the spot where a knot of change deep in me
wanted unfolding, wanted
life’s dreams close on the body, palpable
as they could be.
I thought its warmth, ease, tenderness, in some way
was meant to keep me from falling out

or away.
I know we are more fragile, vulnerable than the hat can comfort.
But what it embraces,
an enormous yearning is caught up with it.
Its brim, eternity’s ledge,
moveable fabric,
the finger’s grip on it,
a fresh start for the imagination always. A place that offers up. All this.

To hide where we are still visible, so open in the open,
there, to find an easement isn’t easy
with so much that surrounds,
that fails to protect us in a place where we want to be more than we are

even when it is not possible. A place where we can hold tight and be
embraced too.
How else can some of us live
if what we have without it, without the embrace,
isn’t enough to keep us moving in a world?

The hat is necessary all right. Yes it is.

Nothing vague about the cover up. I wanted more.
I settled for the hat, a great brimmed one, big enough to save an entire life.

Charlene Langfur is a college teacher, an organic gardener, and a rescued dog lover. She attended the Syracruse University Graduate Writing Program. Her poems have most recently appeared in BluelineGreen Mountains ReviewRiverwind # 30 (Fall 2009), White Pelican, and the anthology Beloved of the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude.

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