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Mixology, a Madrigal


The multi-chemical Lethal is a classic
And one of America's best-loved cocktails, due
To its featured role on cable's Death Row show.
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino

Most Wardens know how to mix this fruity 'Martini'
That blends a relaxer, paralyzer, and last
But not least, the sine qua non, the potent heart-stopper.
How that our life is but a flower

Shake, strain, and garnish, the usual protocol
To get the ingredients gurgling and flowing.
And every fastidious Warden works to the clock.
This carol they began that hour

Regional preferences make for a robust array
Of recipes—in Ohio, a mega dose
Of relaxer alone goes a long way, a long way.
That o'er the green cornfields did pass

And Wardens say the imbiber will feel no pain
In briefly reviewing his life, assigning praise
Or blame, as the growing intoxication allows.
Hi ho, the pentobarbital

Outside, the weather may be fair or foul.
On the gurney, in the room inside the room,
The dreamer yearning for spring is horizontal.
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding


Philip Fried

Poetry London

Summer 2013


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