Barbara L Thomas
What Milliner Bedecks the Maple?

Mama's hand, her eye,
imbuing crown and brim with flourishes
she saw through the open tent flap:
blush of huckleberry and vine maple;
Chiwaukum River; Cascade peaks.
At Dad's urging, Mama learned to pattern
Morse code on the ham radio,
"both companionable and practical
for a ranger's wife," Dad said.
In exchange, he packed up
the Chevy for a rare trip to town.
When a lady glimpsed our mama
sashaying along a Leavenworth street
in a rosy froth of her own finery
the lady offered forty dollars for Mama's
hat. Our mama, inventive
as any Cascade milliner,
knew she could make another.

© 1995 by Barbara L. Thomas

Barbara L. Thomas is a member of the Northwest Native American Writer Circle and a performer with the Avalanche Poets; her most recently published or forthcoming work is in No Exit, The Raven Chronicles, and Spindrift.