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
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
Return to Index of Poetry
by Erika Kulnys