My Father’s Hat
To the memory of Jim Greeley, friend of my youth
Dear friend, you sent me a photograph,
a black-and-white freeze-frame image of the past.
In it I am wearing my father’s hat.
The brown hat that smelled of ancient sweat
and Dublin drizzle. The kind of hat
worn by Alan Ladd in gangster films.
I am wearing my father’s hat
and I am seated between two companions:
together we are tightly bunched
like veterans from an old brigade.
Since then we have lost touch.
And I will never again find my father’s hat.
It is hard enough to find my father in the old part of the cemetery where all paths look the same.