Issue Forty - Summer 2022

When a Good Cheese Dies

By John Dorroh

After Ruby Tandoh

Cheese dies, you know? Not like forever
as an entity. More like a family phasing out of existence
from genes gone awry, uncalibrated miscalculations,
horrible matches in matrimony, substandard maintenance,
perhaps climate change.

The late Mary Holbrook, with her Old Ford cheese,
aged in cool, damp English shade, French influences
hybridized with steadfast English traditions of goat’s
and sheep’s milk. Her peppery Tymsboro, rubbed
with ashes, stacked like pyramids, both soft and bright
on the sides of the tongue with peppery notes
and her semi-soft Cardo, crafted with Portuguese
tradition, a vegetarian rennet from thistle stamens.
This is not Kraft American slices.

Everything changes form, evolves into something
else, conserving molecules touched and breathed
by Adam & Eve, by Cro-Magnon, by Galileo and Plutarch,
by Chinese warlords, by Lincoln and Truman and Marilyn
Monroe. Cheese too, nothing more than bacteria-riddled
curds, a wondrous performance while it is here,
useful in such limited ways, its complementary stance
with breads and wine, tickling the palates of people
who elevate its overall importance with accolades,
awards, ceremonious reckonings, traveling across oceans
to render a taste of what might last no longer than
a family’s passage back into the soil.

Copyright Dorroh 2022