Backyard fireworks, a strip of knockoff Black Cats
terrorizing an empty Folgers tin:
Memorial Day, a three-day weekend
where ground-up pig meat encased in tubes
of intestine gets celebrated,
gets turned over an odorless propane fire
by a man with a Kiss the Cook apron,
piss in a can in one hand, oversized tongs
in the other. He gives his kids the hose and sprinkler,
tells them to watch out for dog shit
and don’t fuck up the lawn too much,
every blade of it glowing green an hour after
the sun dunks its sweaty head into a cooler
for another beer. He’s given up on product
placement by the time he lowers himself
into a hammock, tuckered out, drunk on direct
deposit, 401k and forty-five minute commutes.
He’s seeping into the suburban plot—
fenced off and cul-de-sacked—having never
once heard of the giraffe constellation, unaware
that tonight he lounges under its silent rain of fire.
Travis Mossotti serves as Poet-in-Residence at the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis and also as a 2015-2016 Regional Arts Commission Fellow. He was awarded the 2011 May Swenson Poetry Award by contest judge Garrison Keillor for his first collection of poems, About the Dead (Utah State University Press), and his second collection, Field Study, won the 2013 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize (Bona Fide Books). Mossotti has also published two chapbooks, and recent poems of his have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, Southern Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in the writing program at Webster University and works for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at Washington University.