The Assassination of John Lennon as Depicted by the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1987 by David Wojahn

Portrait of John Lennon & Yoko Ono at Niagara Falls
John Lennon & Yoko Ono at Niagara Falls

Smuggled human hair from Mexico
Falls radiant around 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
Windmilling 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.

Source: David Wojahn. Mystery Train. Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, ©1990.

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