hat poem

by dm gillis

if I could go back in time
to when my father wore a hat
1950 something, while he smokes a Craven “A”
(cold Commercial Drive or Campbell Avenue)
I could see the boxcars of his mythology
in the yard down Coal Harbour
empty and stinking of distance
and hear the radio in his room
commentary still sore from war
over the magazine shop near Main
I could drink from his bottle of rye whiskey
and know what it is like to have been abandoned
and found once more by the man’s own quiet eyes

there’d be a jack knife and nickles
in a saucer on the dresser
and the one lone hat
on a hook on the door