I like to think I would have worn a hat like that
(for Benjamin Green-Field 1898-1988)
one my 1950s husband could not afford,
would not approve, perhaps one with tiny bees
with feather wings, cloth flowers, beaded berries,
a simple chenille dot veiling.
For once, I might be a surrealist, absurd,
wearing a crown fashioned
by materials we never rationed
during the war: kitchen utensils, napkin rings
dollhouse furniture – why not don spoons
for the Methodist luncheon,
a nest of applique owls for the PTA?
Fashionable women wear hats and gloves,
the wealthiest dress in Bes-Ben,
the Mad Hatter’s designs
originality. I might be Garland
at the races, miniature plastic jockeys
riding through my brim of satin leaves,
or Deitrich, Taylor, goddesses
of the red carpet garbed in paper mâché
skyscrapers, Dalmatian puppies furred
by egret’s wings, bejeweled lobsters,
glitz for the paparazzi’s lens,
sparkle for the style column:
Tallulah wore gold metal cicadas,
silver beaded edging, a hard sculpted
base softened only by the use of plush
chocolate brown velvet.
Once a year, I might make that trip
to Michigan Avenue, line up
with hundreds of other housewives
who know eighty dollars for a hat can buy
that new lawnmower, a thousand,
the washer-dryer set, and more.
But for only $5.99, I may well
find something from last year’s
catalogue in this year’s bargain bin:
a litter of pompom skunks,
woolen calla lilies with horsehair
and metal vases, a red polka-dot
chapeau dealt a sparkling hand of aces.
Hayley Mitchell Haugen
Hayley Mitchell Haugen holds a PhD in English from Ohio University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington; she is Professor of English at Ohio University Southern in southeastern Ohio. Light & Shadow, Shadow & Light from Main Street Rag Publishing Company (2018) is her first full-length poetry collection, and her chapbook, What the Grimm Girl Looks Forward To is from Finishing Line Press (2016). She edits Sheila-Na-Gig online (https://sheilanagigblog.com/) and Sheila-Na-Gig Editions.
The Ekphrastic Review
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