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On the Passing of the Hat

by Suzanne Palmer
(2010. All rights reserved)

On the frozen pavement this morning: two splatters of dark red, side by side,
No longer warming ears or comforting brow, having already given its last,
Someone's faithful old hat yarn'd out where it lay.
Spent and done, nothing remains but beaten-down and bedraggled stubs,
Wool that in youth must have danced brightly toe to toe at the pinnacle,
Yet now discarded and dissolute and still.
Was it quick? Was there mercy? Will it be mourned, this quiet servant and its seasonal charge?
What tragedy left such sad and incomplete evidence of a passing for the eyes of strangers?
Had I chalk, I would have given it the final, respectful outline that was its due.