• Amanda Hammers

An Opa Hat

Every year we fly through the sky to Minneapolis, my parents and I.

We watch the baggage claim belt spin round and round

like the tire of an overturned tank.

I wait for our black bag to win the wrestling matches

of the bags as they come off the ramp and hit a stranger’s case.


Opa, my father’s father,

appears through the magic doors.

On his head is an Opa hat.

It is brown and corduroy,

like the bear with the overalls in the children’s book.

Others might call it a newsboy cap.


Opa, tall as a skyscraper to me, picks me up into a hug.

It’s always reminded me of a bear, his hugs.

The air fills with the scent of his cologne,

strong and comforting.

When all the breath has left me,

he places me on the ground

as we take our place with him for the next week.


In the back,

our bag enters the ring.

It smashes into some granny’s purple flowered suitcase.

The audience sighs

as it is dragged off the ring

and to its pit crew.

I sit on it to make sure

it knows the true winner.


The security guards must think

we are pirates as we enter the concrete maze.

We are lost, saying argh every this way and that,

as we try to find our “stolen” gold.

With the help of the parrot in Opa’s key,

we find our pot of gold. Opening its four doors,

we head off with our wrestling champion.

I wonder if we can lose the car

at the airport in Wilmington,

where my Opa will give me another bear hug

before graduation.


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