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Hat Talk,by April Bernard

June 04, 1989

In our first life we are church mice. Envious of the parishioners, we observe from our filthy corner: the soaring headgear of the nuns, small veils on pillbox hats, the miters. In the vestibule we eat literature, consuming the names we long for: Jedediah, Job, Martha. In our second life we are cab drivers, with extensive though predetermined mobility the option of the cap, and someone throwing up in the back seat. In our third life we are scenic tour guides, hats uniform, careening with busloads of innocents through alps, high sierras, holy lands. The advantage here is that they listen to what you say. In our fourth life-- ah, well, but here the analogy breaks down. From "Blackbird Bye Bye" (Random House: $16.95; 80 pp.). This is the first published collection of poems by the 1988 winner of the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award. Bernard is a magazine editor living in New York. April Bernard, 1989. Reprinted by permission of Random House.

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