by Shelly Blankman

A ten-gallon hat on 20-gallon head
was never meant to be.

Everyone in Texas, the big and brawny,
the tall and scrawny, wore straw hats,

the ones cowboys tipped with every “Ma’am”
and never left John Wayne’s head in a brawl.

“One size fits all,” the labels read,
but not for me, not for my head.

In a state brimming with hats,
my head was big and bare.

My wedding veil was two yards netting,
No mortarboard to toss in the air.

Bathing caps squeezed my skull
like an overpacked suitcase.

Shower caps leave my hair drenched
at the ends that cannot be covered.

I never wore a winter cap, even ones that stretched,
and baseball hats struck out more than three times.

But a cowboy hat? A hatless head in a field
of hatted heads hurt the worst.

They say “Everything’s bigger in Texas.”
Texas never saw my head.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Here I am in my cowboy hat!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was born with water on the brain, and my head has been enlarged since birth. The prompt, “Me, In A Hat,” seemed to be a natural “fit” and my creative process flowed from my recent trip to San Antonio to visit my son, Joshua. The truth of the matter is I love hats, maybe because that was the one item I could never have. I figured a 10-gallon hat would be the exception, but to my family’s gentle amusement, it wasn’t. Hence, this led to the poem that became the source of amusement more than it caused pain. Lucky me. I have a big head, but I am surrounded by family and friends with much bigger hearts, so this poem took on a special meaning. And after all, isn’t that what poetry is all about…bringing to life a sense of meaning and understanding.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Blankman  and her husband are empty-nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland, with their four cat rescues. They have two sons — Richard, 32, of New York, and Joshua, 30, of San Antonio. Shelly’s first love has always been poetry, although her career has generally followed the path of public relations/journalism. Her poetry has been published by Silver Birch Press, Verse-Virtual, Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing, and Visual Verse.