Joy Katz

The Lettuce Bag

The loveliest lettuce comes in a plastic sleeve that expands, weblike, to
cradle the largest red-leaf or the smallest butterhead. If a rose were
the size of a head of romaine, its petals would be held unbruised. The
lettuce bag would not distort the most bouffant beehive hairdo; indeed,
you could slip it over an actual beehive—a small one—and its grid of
plastic tethers would barely impress the delicate wax. If labias were in
season, their tender interiors, their roundness, would be touched by
the grocer’s mist. The lettuce bag has the same selflessness that a
good translator has for a French poem. The little plastic sleeve moves
me like a suffragette! But I am being too grand. Abundantly soft and
pliant, its perforations clean, the bag has a modest beauty. In the
modern refrigerator, though, lettuce goes limp as a peignoir unless
stored in an astronaut helmet.

Joy Katz
“The Lettuce Bag” first appeared in Verse: The Second Decade.