by Lindsey Martin-Bowen

I didn’t expect this frilly thing
to take me in.
Maroon ostrich feathers
cascade into pink
and wine-dark roses.
Black lace hides a broad brim.
Perhaps the ghost of Edith Head
or Barbara Crist possesses me.
Propped on my head,
it sends me to wander Dublin streets
with James Joyce.
We nod at Molly Bloom
when we pass the hat shop
in those days of bustles
and Victorian lace.

So I buy it.
Lifting my chin, I stretch my neck
and arch my back
to wear this heady thing,
this hat,
and am, in fact, reborn.

PHOTO: The author in her hat.

SOURCE: “Hat” appeared in the author’s collection Inside Virgil’s Garage (Chatter House Press 2013), and was first published in I-70 Review (2011).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Between five and six years ago, I bought a hat with the ostrich plumes and gaudy designs of the late nineteenth/early twentieth Century. A month later, reflecting upon the frivolous purchase inspired me to write the poem “Hat.” Later, “Hat” became a character in “When Hat Dated a Beret.” She also had an affair with a Stetson, but I cannot find the hard copy that poem, lost when a vicious Windows 8.1 update caused my computer to crash.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s third collection, CROSSING KANSAS with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form) was a semi-finalist in the QuillsEdge Press 2015-2016 Chapbook Contest. In late 2016, Writer’s Digest gave her poem “Vegetable Linguistics” an Honorable Mention in its Eighty-Fifth Annual Contest (Non-rhyming Poetry Category). “Bonsai Tree Gone Awry” in her second poetry collection, Inside Virgil’s Garage (Chatter House Press 2013) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The book was also a runner-up in the 2015 Nelson Poetry Book Award. McClatchy Newspapers named her first collection, Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley Press) one of the Ten Top Poetry Books of 2008. Her poems have run in New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, Amethyst Arsenic, Bare Root Review, Coal City Review, Flint Hills Review, Rockhurst Review, 11 anthologies, and other literary magazines. She taught at University of Missouri-Kansas City for 18 years and teaches at MCC-Longview.