Ferenc Rákóczi in the Pantry

by Irma Kiss Barath

Ferenc II Rákóczi was a Hungarian aristocrat who led rebellions against the Habsburg empire in the early 18th century. He is widely considered a national hero in Hungary.”Rákóczi” is also the name of a popular Hungarian breakfast salami.

Dear, kind

Ferenc: I am in love
with your meat-printed
face. I fan this last

pious slice, resting on
my plate. I should tell you:
in the afterlife

you have many wives
and spaniels. You have
also these children

who pair you with
butter—something soft
to polish your guns.

Every morning
a million murders
crow across this country:

your cool body plated for breakfast,
sixty-eight calories per serving.

I count the wrappers in the bin,
evidence of the many mornings

I have chosen to live.