Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Thieves Vinegar

Thieves Vinegar

By Deanne Lundin

(Four thieves, sentenced to carrying away victims of the plague
in Paris, reputedly drank a mixture of vinegar and garlic, and

to this attributed their escape from contagion.)

Stench and sting of the fires. Morning a dim of ash. evening a
starless fog.

It is good for ye burning heat of ye head.

“I’ve stolen nothing,” the first thief objected. “Your words or mine,
who’d know?”

He poured a libation over his skill.

“I have a terrible memory,” said number two. “I confess to
remembering everything.”

He took up the bottle and drank.

Vinegar doth raise an appetite.
And being supped up it casteth out leeches that were drank.

“I have lived without faith for so long,” said the third, “I’ve begun
to have doubts.”

He sprinkled a few drops over the flames.

And being gargarized restraineth also ye fluxes in ye throat.

The last thief, who never spoke, said
the usual thing,

And they picked up the dead woman and carried her to the fires.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 73, No. 2, Disruptions (Summer 1999), p. 194


Deanne Lundin

Deanne Lundin is a poet and short story writer. Born and raised in Florida, she has also lived in Oklahoma, Boston, California, England, and Wales. She attended Harvard University and University of Michigan. Her work has appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly and The Kenyon Review.

Return To TOC