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My Father's Hats

     Sunday mornings I would reach
high into his dark closet while standing
     on a chair and tiptoeing reach
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling
     the soft crowns and imagine
I was in a forest, wind hymning
     through pines, where the musky scent
of rain clinging to damp earth was
     his scent I loved, lingering on
bands, leather, and on the inner silk
     crowns where I would smell his
hair and almost think I was being
     held, or climbing a tree, touching
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent
     was that of clove in the godsome
air, as now, thinking of his fabulous
     sleep, I stand on this canyon floor
and watch light slowly close
     on water I can't be sure is there.

—Mark Irwin

from New Letters, Volume 66, Number 3, 2000
New Letters

Copyright 2000 by The Curators of the University of Missouri.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Cleveland State University Press from New Letters. Copyright 2000 by The Curators of the University of Missouri. For further permissions information, contact The Curators of the University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Mark Irwin is the author of six poetry collections, including American Urn: Selected Poems (Ashland Poetry Press, 2015).

Learn more about Mark Irwin at The Poetry Foundation.