John Amen



My skin sprouted the devil’s fur.
Each night, ma’s ripe orgasm
poured like sugar juice over my dreams.
I wrestled my trumpet as across the bloodfield,
Smithy towered waist-deep in the river,
firing his rifle into the muddy banks.
I lived on the sweet pulp of my anger,
though every peach I picked came back to haunt me,
ma spread naked on a bare mattress,
her hand vised between her legs.
I gargled black sap as developers streamed in,
their dollars strewn across our unmarked graves.
I looked for God in a bubbling spoon,
as if the next jab might peel my memory,
unstrap me at the door of forgiveness.
I played my trumpet as a bulldozer
rolled over the peach trees, I played it when ma
drowned in her bathtub, when the preacher
said the world would end on a Thursday.
A week before Xmas 08, I set it down in the culvert
behind the new condominiums where our shed
used to stand, those red saws & pitchforks,
the teeth & tines of my longing,
I haven’t thought of playing it since.