Poem #28: Macaroni and Cheese

Once, I tried to give up all processed foods
Yes, even Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
There was a time when the absence
of those narrow blue boxes in my cupboard
was the indication that it was time:
grocery run.

But all processed food is just a mimicry
of the real thing, I reasoned.
When I want Macaroni and Cheese
I’ll use noodles and, you know, cheese.

Thus began two years
of shredded cheese macaroni,
experiments with eggplants,
pasta concoctions with beans
basil broccoli potatoes lavender
peppers carrots olives
Of optimistically freezing meals,
knowing in my heart
that I would never feel desperate
or hungry enough
to eat that again.

I moved, and a new home meant
new rules new job new routine
meant maybe Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
and canned soup
could find a place on the shelf again
Pasta Roni and Campbell’s soup
tasted like salt and water with beans,
became dog food after an unenthusiastic meal.
But Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
still tasted like sitting at my mom’s kitchen counter
teddy bear pajamas and pigtails
a bowl and a spoon and a big smile
Tasted like friendly competitions with my best friend
over whose boxed Mac & Cheese tasted “the creamiest”
and movies at Grandma’s house,
where a little stolen dehydrated cheese
sprinkled from a Mac & Cheese packet
made the world’s most magical popcorn.