Another Wrong Fedora


It was 1937. Or maybe ‘41. Father, still single,
came out the door of The Brown Derby,
fedora in hand. (Alone? With friends? A date?)

No doubt he gave a stub (printed? pencilled?)
to a young valet. While waiting for his car
(The Buick roadster? A Packard sedan?), he put on the hat
and found it wasn’t his. Too wide at the temples?

Did it sit too tall on his Brylcremed head? He took it off
and looked it over―the right style, the same color
as his own. (Grey? Tan?) Did he look inside to check
the maker? Dobbs? Miller? Meier & Frank? Was C.G.
embossed in the sweatband? Turning back to the supper club,
he met another puzzled man who held another wrong fedora.

The man looked up to show a famous face: The trim mustache,
the wiseguy grin. Gable. Clark Gable. “Is this your hat?”
(Who spoke first? ) “Why, yes, it is. And is this one yours?”

“It certainly is.” “Thanks so much.” “The same, I’m sure.”

While driving home (on Boyle Avenue? Mission Road?),
did he think, “I just wore Clark Gable’s hat”?

Or, “This hat sat on Gable’s head”? No matter.

The dash lights surely glowed a buttery warm.

The sky was satin black, except for nearby stars.