Meditation on Lettuce
Cider Press Review, spring 2004
Dr. catherine Carter

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The lettuce does not want to be the lettuce
we know—succulent, riffle-edged,
green to the tongue, moist
and fresh as the cheek of a child.
The letttuce wants more; that stalk
cries out to stretch, to lengthen
into a tower, a scepter, a spurt
of flowers, a spatter of seeds,
its humid leaves yearn to turn
to thorny spears, jagged blades.
It thinks, if lettuce can think,
of the day it will have met
its purpose, and can stand emptied
out, withering, dessicated, fulfilled.
But I will not allow it.
Brutal knife in hand I take
to the garden, I snick off the full
heavy stalk, I demand
a head. I thwart the lettuce
in its climb to power and peace,
I insist that it remain full, potential,
a Lolita of lettuces,
turgid, prepubescent, delicious.
Let us be forgiven our hunger, our lust,
out of which, lettuce, I have sinned against you.


Dr. Catherine Carter
Director of English Education
421 Coulter Hall
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723
(828) 227-3931