FOREVERThe wedding gown is meant to be immortalMY FATHER'S HATS
in a storage box with plastic portal
where rows of bugle beads remain eye-bright,
elegant French lace unspoiled, white
as when it glided down the chapel aisle
upon the flawless bride
who hid inside
her veil of tulle the most triumphant smile.
If called passé by future generations
what unknown fate awaits this sad creation?
Perhaps a costume morgue, or pile of clutter
in a theater that has been shuttered,
cut up and made into an evening purse,
a trim for handmade lingerie,
drapes for a storefront café,
shirred into an evening skirt, or worse—
perhaps no future for it lies ahead,
but burial beneath a king-size bed
where every day begins as black as night
and grizzled ghosts of dust bunnies unite
to fabricate a quilt. What a paradox!
The box protects the gown,
the dust-like eiderdown
protects the sealed-up airtight cardboard box.
If descendants call the wedding day
a quaint old custom that should go the way
of kidnapped, bartered brides and bundling boards—
better things to put your money toward—
will the vintage dresses, side by side,
rise into the stratosphere
and, with a great celestial cheer,
reunite forever with their brides?
He'd take his gray fedora
from a six-sided British box,
flip it on his head, brim snapped,
and dance like Fred Astaire.
In his straw hat,
he became a Bolivian planter
perusing fields of tea.
Once, he bought a derby,
tossed it on our bust of Beethoven,
the felt glistening like raven feathers,
its grosgrain bow prim as a banker's tie.
When his reflection
in the dusty window of the barbership
was of someone unfamiliar
he put away the derby
for the mailman's Christmas.
His passion was baseball caps
with squiggled logos and jaunty bills
that cast a rakish shadow on his face.
When he died, and hungry boxes waited
to swallow all that roosted in his closet,
a flock of gray fedoras flew out,
perched on the finials of lamps,
the ladders of chairs,
snapping brims at anyone who approached.
Baseball caps soared to the ceiling,
hovering on currents of air.
The straw hat sailed full speed
through the isthmus of the kitchen door
c o n s t a n c e v o g e l
g l e n v i e w, i l l i n o i s
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