I Tip My Cap To Hats
by G. Louis Heath

I am not wearing a hat in my photo, but
a cap. So here goes my shot at Silver

Birch Press fame in contravention of the
diction of hat: A bright day over Lake

Superior bathes my dissident headgear in
brisk, fresh swaths of soft electric white

on the campus by that Great Lake. I stand
by a birch on the U of M campus. (My neurons

also stand here, not at ease like me, but at full
attention, saluting the rare nice day.) And by M,

I don’t mean Michigan, but the Land of 10,000
Lakes that vie for attention with the greatest of

them all. It is not a silver birch I stand by, just a
standard white birch whose bark the Ashinaabe

peel off and craft into baskets that express the soul of
a people. As the weather changes over Duluth, I must

forsooth take my birch curtain call and end this claim
to poetry by tipping my cap to all the hats of this land.

PHOTO: The author in his Duluth cap (summer, 1981).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I wore my plaid “cabbie cap” during my three summers, 1979-1981, at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. Viewing the photo set off a chain of memories about those summers. At first hesitant to write about a cap in the “Me, In A Hat” series, my first creative process was to re-define “hat” to include my “cap.” Then I harked to my rush of nostalgia by writing the above poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, is Emeritus Professor, Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Leaves Of Maple: An Illinois State University Professor’s Memoir of Seven Summers’ Teaching in Canadian Universities, 1972-1978, Long Dark River Casino, and Redbird Prof: Poems Of A Normal U, 1969-1981. He has published poems in a wide array of journals.