Marilyn Cavicchia

Chicken Hats

Once, when chicken hats were the fashion, there was a man who had two—
a good one to wear around town, and another just for home.
The good chicken hat was three feet tall with silky blue feathers
and a gold comb, and every so often it would lay an egg
and the egg would hatch and a tiny angel would come out
and play a short tune on an impossibly small trumpet.
The good chicken hat was covered in fleurs de lis and filigree,
and when you pulled its string, it would flap its splendid wings
and say, “Fiddle dee dee” and lay another egg.
The other chicken hat was a horrible, warty thing
with no comb at all and one wing curled under,
and only one eye, and that one was squinty.
When you pulled its string, it said, oh, terrible things
about gravel, vinegar, and rotten peas,
and then it said, “Feed me some corn, you son of a gun.
What are you waiting for?”
So the man sat by the fire with the gnarled, knurled hat in his lap,
spooning corn into its leathery beak, which would gabble and chew
with each pull of the string. The bad chicken hat would tell him
about the hat factory and the sea it rode over to reach the man.
Many a night they passed like this while the good chicken hat stared prissily
from the wooden head it perched on when not being worn around town.
In time, both chicken hats wore out and could no longer be repaired.
One hat, the man threw out with barely a pang, setting it by the curb.
The other, he buried in the backyard, under a lilac bush watered with his tears,
which he collected night by night in a teaspoon as he sat alone by the fire.
I’ll tell you one more thing: If you don’t know which hat is which,

you’re too stupid for love, my friend.

1 comment:

  1. What a way with words! Totally awesome! Makes me think of Transformations for a new century (Anne Sexton was brave enough to take on the 20th century). Really clever and cool.


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