Back When I Couldn’t Wear Hats

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A long time ago I couldn’t wear hats.
OK. That’s not true. I could wear the things.
I just couldn’t wear them well. I always
bent the bills like a V or wore them flat.
My God, I must have looked ridiculous.

Then one fine day, Hat Day, in English class
I had on my black DePauw Tigers hat,
the one with the yellow paw on the front,
and this girl … this blue-eyed angelic girl,
her dirty blond hair falling like water
under a blue cap with a white horseshoe
snatched the thing off my head. She laughed and said:

“Didn’t anyone ever show you how
to wear one of these? You look so stupid.”

She said this while folding the bill into
a U and cramming it back on my head.
At that moment, all other females died.
OK. That’s not true either. But it was.
At least, it was for me. I loved that girl.
I loved her more than anyone I’ve met
and I never once got to tell her that.

She’s the one who got away, I suppose.
My own, personal faux Aphrodite.
So this poem? It’s for her and for me.
I wear hats well now, just look and you’ll see.
Honestly, I don’t know what you’re up to
but I wish you wanted to talk to me
as much as I would like to talk to you.

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