Someone Else’s Hat
by Elizabeth Alford

I was savoring the chill
and wilderness of Northern Michigan
when this young man
took my picture for the first time—

a photographer, artist, and poet
of some distinction both in print
and on the internet.
It truly is remarkable
what he can do
with an expensive camera
and a couple of apps on an iPad.

One of his black Detroit hats
had found its way onto my head
during the trip, like the hood
of the Michigan jacket he bought me
at a souvenir shop
in the middle of nowhere
and I swear, you wouldn’t have known me
for a native Californian.

Minutes after upload
I watched, entranced, as this
magician brought out
his bag of tricks
with a stylus—
the amber in my eyes
the bloom in my cheeks
the glow on my skin
and the smile on my face
was the best smile I ever smiled
because it was real.

I will always remember
that Spring by the river
where in forty-degree weather
I posed without posing
for a photograph
wearing someone else’s hat.

PHOTO: The author in early May of 2016 (somewhere in northern Michigan). Photo by Chase Gagnon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This event took place the first time I went on a road trip from Detroit to Presque Isle with a poet friend. We were still in a long-distance relationship at the time. He got an amazing shot of the river while we were there. You can view and order prints of his urban, nature, and digital art photos from his SmugMug.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Alford is a poet living in Hayward, California, who co-hosts the Berkeley reading group Poetry Express. Her work has recently appeared at Failed Haiku, Hedgerow, The Bamboo Hut, Prune Juice, Poetry Super Highway, Tuck Magazine, and in the short poetry anthology Apple Fruits of an Old Oak. Visit her Facebook page.