artwork for John Amen's poem Haunted

John Amen

—for Richard

Sir frontman, Mr. minstrel,
we smoked your tablature
on the clover berm by I-51.
Now your jazz is woven into the American nest,
blooming in roadkill. Home,
I sprinkled a sax solo
in the backyard where you
blared that blood lake, sulfur cloud,
where black tomatoes crescendo, bitter squash,
those gunpowder peaches.
Four Julys come & gone,
August bursting with a jackpot I can’t give away,
& still that bulletweed, no matter
how I dig & pull, it comes back,
redder & louder every time.

John Amen’s Comments

With “Haunted,” I’m exploring Richard’s death/suicide using the motif of him as a jazz musician. The connection between death and spring is the primary evocation of the piece, I suppose; that, and the way in which absence keeps returning: the great perennial.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 60 | Fall/Winter 2022