Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

Fedora

Kenneth Sherman
From:   Open To Currents. Wolsak and Wynn, 1992


[Click HERE for Sound]


On a downtown street corner
near Tip Top Tailors
I find myself
looking for my father.

I pass a darkened hat shop
south on Spadina
that displays a fedora —
the sort he used to wear

in the dead heart of winter
when he'd come home from work
drained, without words.
In the sudden warmth of the house

his glasses fog.
He takes off his coat and his hat
then pours himself
a thimble of Scotch.

Under the bald glare
of a suburban streetlight
our driveway is filling
with snow.

My father eats his late supper
then again puts on
his hat and his coat.
My pillow is next

to my bedroom window
so I can hear
the clear and solitary
scrape of his shovel.

The sound slices through me.
What is he shovelling
if not the days
that lie buried

in the banks of whiteness
that will melt
or be carried by wind?
On a closet shelf,

years later, I find
my father's fedora
with its stained sweatband,
the possibility of its soft folds,

its rigid brim.
When I run my hand inside
along the cool satin lining
I can feel the absence.

Somewhere, my father is travelling
with what he could not give.
What he gave
I hold now in my hand.



Kenneth Sherman's works copyright © to the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page