The salt rim on your black hat would not wash out the first time.
I could no longer stand the smell of your body — gone —
the spark of scent fading like the pitch of your voice.
Washing your hat in the steel kitchen bowl, I could see the briny beige glint in the sun and I thought of your favourite Sunlight dish-soap.
As a “naturalized Canadian”, you did not have to wave its flag to prove your love. You collected logos from other borders and wore the Seahawks hat for decades.
The Germany hat was your last — visor folded just for your head — the black canvas with grainy rim of deep dust at the seam.
Whenever you saw the flag, you would say “schwarz, rot, gold”. The German that did not wash out.
You can’t wring
your salt in the sink.
Still cleaning you up after death. Preserving a tear shrine for your hat, for your denim eyes hidden under the golden trim.
Not all the salt washed away the first time,
not the early summer cartographies of salt
you left on your hat to say goodbye.
Jessica Lee McMillan © 2021
For my dad, Uwe.