Under the Sun, Me in a Hat
by Martina R. Gallegos
My last trip to my home country
was like visiting a desert in midsummer;
the weather was an oven.
We went to visit a neighboring town;
the broiling heat as even worse,
so my brother bought me a hat.
Under the sun I wore my hat to pick berries
on scorching summer afternoons.
I meandered through my hometown, me in a hat,
delivering greetings to childhood neighbors
who also wore their special hats
against the sweltering sun.
During my chosen breaks, I’d toil the soil,
not minding the blistering sun
because it was always, me in a hat.
The hat accompanied me on my hike
to the top of the mountain
when we visited the cross.
The sights all around us were breathtaking
with green cornfields, rivers, and ravines,
and I always kept my hat on.
Back home, I’d sit outside, flowers on my hat,
and waited for hummingbirds
to get as close to me as possible,
and one nestled in my fluffy hair.
I’m getting my garden ready
so monarchs and hummingbirds
can perch on my hat,
and I’ll stick flowers in my hat
and wear colorful, flowery clothes
because I’ve learned hummingbirds
see those colors as real flowers.
Sometimes I use my hat to collect
flowers in before I sit down to watch
for butterflies and hummingbirds.
PHOTO: The author’s sun hat.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m not a hat-wearing person, but I traveled to Mexico with my brother right in the middle of summer, and it was blazing hot the whole time before and after storms. There was no way I could go out without a hat, so when we went to Huejuquilla, Jalisco, Mexico, the summer of 2015, my brother Crisanto bought me a straw hat, nothing special about it, but it did help keep my head cooler. We also picked berries in the hills along the highway on our way back home. I used the hat for protection against the burning sun and as a basket to collect berries and other treasures back to the car.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martina R. Gallegos came to the U.S. from Mexico as a teenager and lived in Altadena and Pasadena through high school. She then moved to Oxnard and attended community college. She transferred to California State University, Northridge and got her teaching credential. She taught for almost 18 years in Hueneme Elementary School District until a work injury followed by a stroke kept her home. She resumed her Master’s after hospitalization. She graduated with her M.A. June 2015. Her work has appeared in Altadena Review, Hometown Pasadena, Silver Birch Press, and Basta! She published her first book Grab the Bull by the Horns in 2016 (Outskirts Press). Her latest book, Stepping Stones: Journal to Recovery from Stroke and Brain Injury is now also available on Amazon.