This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer, released by Kelsay Books in 2021.
An Almost Ghazal For My Mother’s Hats
A memory fermata from my brother’s musty basement—your weathered cache of dormant hats. Who wants to be a milliner? It’s me who yearns to adorn you again with your signature crown panache. Not Carmen Miranda’s tutti frutti tower or the mystique that Audrey Hepburn’s brims begat but your astute and effortless pillbox, satin cream to match your linen dress, jeweled flats. Not in Lady Gaga’s floppy blushpink Boho or in Schiaparelli’s high-heeled shoe-hat but your quail-feathered bowler with emerald ribbon— pure hattitude for luncheons, their green-eyed chitchat. When you stepped out you were a standout, behold that black-velvet, pearl-beaded, mink-trimmed half-hat, your summer straw with gingham flowers, a tufty clown bouncing on the headband of your circus hat. Tonight I salvage from sagging round boxes your weathered cache of trademark hats, still beguiled by scarlet lips, veiled fascinators, this daughter’s finishing school for accessorizing—the play in being all that.
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