My Father's Hats
Sunday mornings I would reach high into his dark closet while standing on a chair and tiptoeing reach higher, touching, sometimes fumbling the soft crowns and imagine I was in a forest, wind hymning through pines, where the musky scent of rain clinging to damp earth was his scent I loved, lingering on bands, leather, and on the inner silk crowns where I would smell his hair and almost think I was being held, or climbing a tree, touching the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent was that of a clove in the godsome air, as now, thinking of his fabulous sleep, I stand on this canyon floor and watch light slowly close on water I'm not sure is there.
From Bright Hunger by Mark Irwin. Copyright ©2004 by Mark Irwin. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. All rights reserved.
About this Poem
“When I was five or six years old, while my father was at church, I often crawled into his closet, stood on a stool, and tried on all of his hats, sometimes looking into and smelling the crowns. These moments remain in some odd way the most mysterious and unorthodoxly religious ones in my life. I wrote the first three or four lines while hiking in 1996. When my father died in 1998, I wrote the entire poem out in fifteen minutes.”
Mark Irwin is the author of A Passion According to Green (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2017). He lives in Colorado and Los Angeles.
Date Published: 2004-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/my-fathers-hats