Throwback Thursday featuring Travis Mossotti from issue 294.2

Travis Mossotti's poem "The Dead Cause" won first place in the James Hearst Poetry Prize in 2009. His poem is featured in issue 294.2, Spring 2009 and can be still be purchased through our online store. grasshopper-249115_640

The Dead Cause

On the porch, a grasshopper waved its serrated foreleg at me while I juggled

groceries for keys; it was the kind of friendly wave I might expect

from a loved one, recently dead, reincarnated into this green husk.

The whole ordeal triggered an alarm of distant thunder, stuffing my head

with dark seeds; so after waving back, I ducked inside, fearful

of inadvertently giving the dead cause to haunt me—the last thing

I needed. Regina was off doing research in Glen Rose again, otherwise

she would’ve identified the grasshopper using the scientific precision that always

fussed my mouth with cobwebs. As it was, I dialed her number

just to make sure she was okay, that she wasn’t yet a grasshopper.

Probably nothing more than a locust—Melanoplus spretus, she said. It could’ve been Buddha, maybe,

I should’ve invited it in for tea, I said before saying goodbye. Raindrops the size of doorknobs

began chasing a garbage truck past the kitchen window. I set the kettle

on the stove to boil, and with curtains curled back slightly, watched a procession

of locusts lope out from the tall grass, apparently no longer waiting for an invitation


Travis Mossotti was awarded the 2011 May Swenson Poetry Award for his first collection of poems About the Dead (USU Press, 2011), and his second collection Field Study won the 2013 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize (Bona Fide Books, 2014). Mossotti has also published two chapbooks, and recent poems of his have appeared in issues of the Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Southern Review, and elsewhere. Photo by: Regina Mossotti

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