Lost Hat Karma

By Barbara Louise Ungar


I lost my favorite hat at the movies
Friday night, but hope it will come back.
It was a brown Irish-knit tam
that looked good on me, as few hats do.

Once I lost my other favorite hat,
a vintage mink swim cap.
The elastic mink somehow swam
back upstream into my mailbox

at work. Once at the Salvation
Army, I was trying on yet another
brown hat, a Bogey-style fedora,
when a man came up and said,

Do you know what you have there?
No, I said, taken slightly aback.
It’s a Cavanaugh. He told me all
about the hat, showed me the motto,

A Posse Ad Esse, in its silk lining.
Wait, I said, How do you know
so much about this hat?
It’s my hat! he wailed, but when

I tried to hand it over, he backed
away, said he was moving
to Florida and the wife insisted
he get rid of all his winter clothes.

I wore that man’s life
on my head for years, till
I passed it on to my paramour.
(A Posse—from the possible?

Ad Esse—to the real?) If the Bhagavad
Gita is right, in the end, we’ll leave
these bodies behind like hats
in the dark theatre when the movie’s done.


Barbara Louise Ungar's third full-length poetry book, Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, was a poetry best-seller for SPD for several months this spring upon its publication by The Word Works. She is the author of two previous full-length collections of poetry, Thrift and The Origin of the Milky Way. The latter won the 2006 Gival Press Poetry Award, a Silver IPPY (Independent Publishers' Book Award), an Eric J. Hoffer Notable for Poetry Award, and the Adirondack Center for Writing Award for Best Book of Poetry 2007 (co-winner). She is also the author of Haiku in English, and several poetry chapbooks. She is an English professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.

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