Regulators Reassess Safety After Lettuce Outbreak
— The New York Times, 06.27.10
So virulent was the lettuce attack it crowded
the ailanthus out of backyard Brooklyn. Creepers
of radicchio insinuated themselves through cracks
in the sidewalk. Wormed their way up chimneys
and glommed onto brick walls. Our parks
once polka-dotted with blossoms
suddenly choked mowers on mountains of mesculun.
Not a single sign or lamppost or bridge remained
un-muffled in ruffles of romaine.
on the roughage invasion, a plague of rabbits has
grown to menacing proportions. They hang around
the farmers’ markets radiating attitude. You can’t
turn a corner without gangs of them flashing
their cucumber tats and their broccoli grilles—
spoils of ascendancy over a carnivorous species whose
food supply they have driven from pasture. All day
armed rodent patrols roam the ‘hood brandishing
semi-automatic artichokes from the backs of tractors
and demanding 14-carrot tribute from a terrified
Meanwhile we creep around
shadows of our burger-chomping selves haunting
the margins of a world where kohlrabi is king.
Hanging our heads during public salutes to the Stems and Stalks.
Gagging on seventh-inning acclamations of God Bless
Mortifying as it is to pay our bills in cabbage
and hold our collateral in escarole, the worst insult
is our loss of religious freedom. Not only has the Dear Lepus
requisitioned our houses of worship for cold frames,
he has pre-empted morning television to hold forth smug
and self-righteous in his jumpsuit. My dear brothers
and sisters in Cress, he splutters through his buck teeth,
lettuce pray. . . .