The bare tree rooted in dry earth
speaks to the world of my bleeding groin.
I still carry those days as if they were medicine balls,
hungry hands in private places.
It is a book that never ends,
a film that keeps jamming the projector.
Crows perch on my gray branches,
vultures gnaw on my leaves.
Whose criminal name should I attach to these visions?
I have been poking in a grave all my years
and have still not found the infamous corpse,
a sack of bones, even a ghost,
who could point me in the right direction.

           John Amen
JOHN AMEN is the editor in chief and publisher of the online literary bimonthly The Pedestal Magazine. His poetry and fiction have appeared in various publications, both online and in print, including 2River View, Wilmington Blues, Stirring Magazine, Twilight Times, Independence Boulevard, C Magazine, and Sanskrit. Amen has toured extensively as a performing musician, both as a solo act and with a band, and has released three full-length recordings, Wild but Willing, Eat Mine, and Four Forty Four. He is a visual artist, working primarily with acrylics on canvas. In 2001, his work will appear in several galleries.