Once upon a time,
there was a country made of Swiss cheese
far, far away,
so far, the cheese never made it
to our stores.
We knew that Swiss cheese existed, though—
we saw it on the news.
Once a year, we took a class trip
to the Bucharest International Fair,
and we saw the huge wheels of cheese
and other miracles, like glazed hams,
pork shoulders, and meters of sausage
Throngs came to see the superstar foods,
glamorous and untouchable.
And, in the Swiss cheese country,
the king and queen were still alive,
but no one was allowed to see them,
or speak to them,
so they were invisible.
Moms never had to count
the slices of ham,
or measure the salami with a ruler
or hide the bananas
and chocolate in the armoire
behind linens and towels,
I’m telling you these stories,
layering ham and cheese slices
like forbidden papers on a bun,
and you laugh—
you saw the Swiss cheese on the news,
and take a bite.