content note: alcohol
People said he was a doctor of the dead, by which they meant forensics. But everyone suspected more. His car was missing from his driveway on nights when executions were underway over in Raleigh. At work, his face was always well-hidden. Even he admitted that.
At home, he was anonymous too as he worked with his roses. But there among the flowers, he was desired — if at a distance –; bored homemakers drove slowly by his house to gawk at him in his European swimsuit, a dark 50s Speedo, and his plastic sandals as he tended his garden. He would have nothing to do with DDT. His idea of killing pests was specific. One on one. He picked each beetle, scraped every aphid off his plants and crushed them between his fingers, then sank them in a pail of water mixed with gasoline. He didn’t fear the thorns; for the most part he was skilful at avoiding being scratched.
When he wanted to show his love, he chose one long stem of rose. One perfect deep red flower. He was swift with his clipper and deadly accurate. He chose the loveliest petals from the bloom to candy. The rest went into a simple syrup. He made a mist of salt water with paprika, exactly the salinity of blood or tears. He sprayed each cocktail glass with the salt mix, added a jigger of rose syrup to each, and set the glasses in the freezer to frost over. While they were chilling, he trimmed the rose stem into four-to-six-inch sections. He was careful to preserve the thorns. He removed the chilled frosted glasses and added six pomegranate kernels to each. Then he carefully added two shots of vodka and a dash of Peychaunt’s Bitters. One red petal was floated in each glass. The drinks were served unstirred with the thorny stems as swizzles. My aunt thought the drink was delicious; that he was delicious too.
Executioner’s Love Potion
Rose simple syrup (1 - 2 shots per glass to taste)
Candied rose petals (at least one per glass)
Vodka (or Gin) (2 shots per glass)
Peychaunt’s Bitters (a dash)
Light salt and paprika dissolved in water for misting the glasses (½ tsp salt to one cup of water, paprika to taste but not so much that it overpowers the rose. Enough to burn a little.)
6 pomegranate kernels per glass (Persephone’s count)
4-6 inch rose stem with untrimmed thorns as a swizzle (1 per glass)
poetry has been published in Poetry, Red Fez, Journal of American Poetry, and in anthologies including Best American Erotic Poems (1800 - Present). Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards. A manuscript of his poems crashed on the moon’s surface in 2019.
Copyright for all work remains with the author thereof and any requests to reprint should be made directly.
Issue 1 © SPOONFEED Magazine
SPOONFEED x New Writing © Caitlin Allen
Issue 2 © Louise Crosby