A poem by Order contributor Bethany Pope on the ways in which people on the fringes make use of death. Scroll down for a recipe for roadmeat stew from the fellow featured in verse below. Photos by Sam Bickle, who serendipitously shared these photos with me within days of Bethany sending this poem. ROADMEAT: it’s on everyone’s mind.
Early this morning on the way to the gym I got off my bike to examine a dead fox kit. I was prodding it, observing the fracture and the incredibly soft fur when this happened:
A man left over from 70′s punk,
cutoff jeans and old leather jacket
With skull scraped free of pelt ,
joined me where I stood, bent
over the kit. A life suspended,
caught in amberlike time.
The puppyish fox with spattered
brains appealed to me;
its large, soft paws
and feathery tail,
the milky smell of it,
made something clench.
This infant psychopomp
lolled its loose head against
my leathered toe. I shifted its body
from tarmac to grass;
it needed that much consideration.
The old man took it further.
His fingers glittered between
the studs on his gloves,
he scooped it by the white-ended
brush. ‘I let nothing waste.’
The corpse vanished into a hidden
pocket. There is no wasted flesh.
Not on this road.
Incidentally, he had already collected three rats and a small spaniel and he informed me that they were delicious in stew. He gave me the recipe and offered a pull from his 2-liter bottle of scrumpy (alcoholic cider). While I don’t think I would be willing to eat city-dwelling roadmeat myself, if only due to the pollution, I can think of worse things.
This is what I wrote down after I parted ways with the punk:
1 lb. found meat, deboned
3 medium potatoes
1 cup fennel leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pinch of salt
1 medium swede (rutabaga)
1 pint scrumpy (alcoholic cider)
I’ve tried it with turkey (I’m too chicken to scrape flesh from the road) and it is pretty good. Chop everything up, brown the meat, simmer for a couple of hours. Fox should taste like gamey dog, so it is probably actually better than it was with turkey.