We Bear

A red ball cap on a boy named Rome who runs fingers
through my hair. He asks for a beer, wanting
a kiss. He can’t cross the door.

On the porch, we watch clouds cross the moon
in fallen arches, step carefully

around histories we will never know: fallen mothers,
fathers without names.

We sleep outside, homeless.
Imagine what you can’t know:
a red ball cap stiff on the head

of an eight-year-old, dead
in a tower, hit
playing soccer in Baghdad.

A red cap lifts—
tattoos unclothed. We bare
what we become. I take the hat off

my lover, humming
to her as they stitch the cross
she cut on her arm; I sing over

her words: but I’m really okay, this has happened before;
the needles punch, the iodine burns. But
we don’t care, they say. The hats

we wear. Who are we without the red
of war? We savour our evening meal,
take off our hats—lift

our hands.