The Assassination of John Lennon as Depicted
by the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum,
Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1987
Smuggled human hair from Mexico
Falls radiant upon the waxy O
Of her scream. Shades on, leather coat and pants, Yoko
On her knees—like the famous Kent State photo
Where the girl can’t shriek her boyfriend alive, her arms
Wind-milling Ohio sky.
A pump in John’s chest heaves
To mimic death-throes. The blood is made of latex.
His glasses: broken on the plastic sidewalk.
A scowling David Chapman, his arms outstretched,
His pistol barrel spiraling fake smoke
In a siren’s red wash, completes the composition,
And somewhere background music plays "Imagine"
Before the tableau darkens. We push a button
To renew the scream.
The chest starts up again.
By David Wojahn
Recipient of the 2008 Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize
Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press
from Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004 by David Wojahn.
Copyright © 2006 by David Wojahn.