Russian Dressing

Russian dressing topped our salads
During the same years
We hid under school desks,
Arms protecting our heads,
Tensing until the blaring alarm subsided,
During the same years we took cover from low-flying planes
Unsure if they were dropping bombs
Or mosquito repellent—
Or just buzzing the corn fields because it was fun.

Tangy and dark orange,
It urged us to double dare you,
To flirt with the enemy by adding
A little intrigue to our lives
And to our lettuce.

When the walls came down–disassembled
We replaced our Russian dressing
With Thousand Island—that paler, thicker, pastel substitute,
A comfort food for those hungry years–
But not before we laughed in relief,
The same way when you get the news
That the spot was benign—
Until the next time.