Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The sun filters
through the filigree
and sprinkles dot lights
upon my face
as I draw musky breath:
each draught,
humid hay,
salty, delicious.

This straw hat
was Dad’s.
I had forgotten
until I sensed his smell,
lifted it,
and saw his sweat mark
upon the band.

The scorching sun
fed desperation
and blanked memory.
Thoughtless, I snatched it
from the peg
at the cottage this morning.

I walk upon the beach.
His essence is in my head—
his hat, the lid.