Stepping off the city sidewalk into this store
is to transport in time to a debonair era
where the covering on the head defined an individual
far beyond a pragmatic trucker’s baseball cap or skier’s stocking hat.
This is a place to leave behind the ordinary,
step away from the rush of the street
to find something extraordinary for the head of an uncommon man,
designed from wool, leather, straw or felt, sometimes trimmed in fur or feathers.
On this day the shoppers search high and low,
hushed and reverent in this haberdasher sanctuary
of stacked hats and wooden boxes, to peer in antique mirrors
turning this way and that, smoothing and adjusting dapper brims.
The array of choices is overwhelming,
as is the diversity of heads to cover,
from young to old, bald to shaggy,
a melting pot of noggins searching for a fitting crown.
Fedora, trilby, stetson, bowler, boater, beret, newsboy, homburg,
transforming the wearer beneath, becoming equalizer
of generations, races, genders by fitting a worthy head:
making a statement without a word spoken.