I found her white hat at the top of my grandmother's coat closet
flung, misguided, hidden, atop the other things and ornaments
of loss her husband's death had also left behind.
I remember walking her down the aisle beneath that hat,
to the tune of a violin playing "To Love You More."
I cried as I held her, after she lit my family's,
my legacy's candle, letting go to help her find her seat,
her eyes crinkling with pride at the future she now saw
reflected in my own. Earlier we'd taken family photos
and I remember those same eyes finding steely resolve,
after the initial horror at the prospect of taking a picture
with the whole family, alongside my father,
and she determined to push herself, her white hat,
and her smile into the frame.
Later they showed me pictures in our album
captured of the two of us, talking as she sat out on a bench
in the foyer, telling me how much she loved me,
as I held her, hat and all.
We cried then, and I'm crying now, as I see that hat again,
perched lonely on the dust of settling memories,
wondering where it was and how it could have been forgotten,
knowing we couldn't find it when she'd wanted it
that second and last time, to match the purple outfit she had
worn to my wedding, the one in which they dressed her,
the hat and gown in which she wished her body to be burned.