In this Book

About the Dead
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summary
Travis Mossotti writes with humor, gravity, and humility about subjects grounded in a world of grit, where the quiet mortality of working folk is weighed. To Mossotti, the love of a bricklayer for his wife is as complex and simple as life itself: "ask him to put into words what that sinking is, / that shudder in his chest, as he notices / the wrinkles gathering at the corners of her mouth." But not a whiff of sentiment enters these poems, for Mossotti has little patience for ideas of the noble or for sympathetic portraits of hard-used saints. His vision is clear, as clear as the memory of how scarecrows in the rearview, "each of them, stuffed / into a body they didn't choose, resembled / your own plight." His poetry embraces unsanctimonious life with all its wonder, its levity, and clumsiness. About the Dead is an accomplished collection by a writer in control of a wide range of experience.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Decampment
  2. pp. 1-5
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  1. One: Country of Forgotten Languages
  2. pp. 7-25
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  1. Inside the Skull
  2. pp. 9-10
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  1. Crossing the Gap
  2. p. 11
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  1. Peregrination
  2. p. 12
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  1. Red Roof Inn
  2. pp. 13-14
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  1. Alice
  2. p. 15
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  1. I’m Explaining a Few Things
  2. p. 16
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  1. Still-Life Minus Fruit
  2. p. 17
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  1. The Dead Cause
  2. pp. 18-19
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  1. Henry ’s Blues
  2. p. 20
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  1. Passport
  2. p. 21
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  1. Preparing the Table
  2. p. 22
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  1. At Church
  2. p. 23
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  1. Outside Pinckneyville
  2. p. 24
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  1. Wheat Field with Crows
  2. p. 25
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  1. Two: About the Dead
  2. pp. 27-45
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  1. Creating the Garden
  2. p. 29
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  1. The Second Coming of Christ in the Form of a North American Alligator
  2. p. 30
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  1. Today, Houdini Is Buried
  2. p. 31
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  1. Funhouse of Mirth
  2. p. 32
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  1. Box
  2. p. 33
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  1. American Song
  2. p. 34
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  1. Variations on a Political Theme
  2. p. 35
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  1. An Apology
  2. p. 36
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  1. Saxifrage
  2. p. 37
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  1. Barber
  2. p. 38
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  1. Form
  2. p. 39
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  1. For Years
  2. p. 40
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  1. Surgery
  2. pp. 41-42
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  1. Reminiscing Skyros
  2. p. 43
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  1. Happens Slowly
  2. p. 44
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  1. About the Dead
  2. p. 45
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  1. Three: As Broken in the End
  2. pp. 47-67
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  1. My Brother’s House
  2. p. 49
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  1. It’s No Secret
  2. p. 50
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  1. Float Trip
  2. pp. 51-52
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  1. Getting Arrested
  2. p. 53
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  1. Too Many Hillsides for the Dead
  2. p. 54
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  1. Glass of Water
  2. pp. 55-56
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  1. News of Surgery
  2. p. 57
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  1. O Captain! My Captain!
  2. p. 58
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  1. Open Mic
  2. p. 59
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  1. Trivial Pursuit
  2. p. 60
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  1. Questions of Heaven and Hell on Sunset Blvd
  2. p. 61
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  1. Rick and the Hooker
  2. p. 62
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  1. I watched her going into a gas station
  2. p. 63
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  1. As Broken in the End
  2. p. 64
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  1. Yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion
  2. p. 65
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  1. Only Then
  2. pp. 66-67
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 68-69
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  1. About the Author
  2. p. 70
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  1. The May Swenson Poetry Award
  2. p. 71
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