April 25, 2011

5 Hats

by Lily Ladewig


This was a kind of hairnet
and was a somewhat startling
14th century innovation.
Previous ages had considered
visible female hair immoral.
Next add a “nebula” headdress
composed of several layers
and resembling a muff. Extremely
square, the face being, as it were,
enclosed in a frame.


The black cat curls up and turns
itself into a beret. I still coo at it
as I did before.
I alternate between wearing it
and nuzzling it. The simple beret
worn by Che Guevera, Johnny Rotten,
and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie & Clyde,
became imbued with an edge
of rebellion and danger.
My beret is not so simple. It is my familiar.


We call it cloche as if being
purely experimental it pulls
down around the ears and requires
a new haircut—a blunt bob.
So then what came first, the extension
or the performance? The bell
or just the day?


Women in general
did not wear wigs
but powdered their hair.
Soon a simple bow
or ribbon was not enough.
Wire frames reached skyward
over which real hair was draped.
From here things get thematic:
a night sky of stars made
of diamonds; gardens of flowers
both real and fake; to celebrate
the French Navy’s victory
over England in 1776, the Princesse
de Lamballe added a ship.


What orbits her. A wig
functioning as a hat of hair.
She pulls gravity with her
like a train she has her own
lipstick shade. A fleshy plumping
pink taking her pants off strapping
antlers to her brow. Her shoulders
are purely structural. Sometimes
she can’t move under the weight of it
banked by dirty snow, going buck wild.

Bio: Lily Ladewig is the author of the chapbooks You Are My Favorite Person of the Year (Mondo Bummer Press, 2010) and, with Anne Cecelia Holmes, I Am A Natural Wonder (Blue Hour Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Conduit, Denver Quarterly, H_NGM_N, No Tell Motel, and SUPERMACHINE. She lives in Brooklyn where she has two closets, one for shoes and one for dresses.

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