Guest Blog: Julie Peterson: Edwin’s Hat (revised from 2008)

Ah, Death
Flesh stripped from bones
Left bare to shine in the moonlight
Knocking together like
Mah jong tiles on the table,
Old wise women
Suck tea through their teeth
And laugh at the sound.

It’s a shame old men are the only ones
Who wear fedoras and
Cover their heads, like I should,
To hide from my own judgment.
The skeletons in my closet
rustle behind the coats and umbrellas
my father left behind
when he died.

I couldn’t find my feet beneath me to
Walk to the graveyard to say goodbye.
Instead, when I left him on his deathbed
I said, “See you later”
My suitcase bumping into my heels like a drawbridge
Snapping up behind me.

Now, years later
I dream of a blanket of hats.
I am comforted by tweed and herringbone,
Corduroy and felt,
Parisisal and scally,
The fine lace cap on a baby
Asleep in the castle
Of her own making.


2 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Julie Peterson: Edwin’s Hat (revised from 2008)

  1. What a wonderful poem. I couldn’t help but think of the first stanza as a reference to the valley of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14 and T.S. Eliot; with wiser women sipping, instead of measuring “life with coffee spoons,” and laughing, like the so-called ‘friends’ of Job, instead of just “talking about Michelangelo.” Loss, contemplation of death, grief through the small sensory things associated with an ambivalent love of a parent (is there any other?) – all powerfully presented without pretense. Wonderful.

  2. Julie, that was beautiful. Very touching, made me think of my step dad, he dressed like a hockey player from the 70s, but always the wool Fedora. I still miss him. Thanks for sharing.

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