Observations in a Supermarket

Art: Slumber by Ami Prasad

I pass pink roses wrapped in cellophane
and pick an orange, lemon, and a peach,
then bag an artichoke, Jerusalem strain.
I get striped toothpaste, shampoo, and blue bleach.
Beside a shelf of coffee-coloured cans
of flavoured juices, multicoloured pop,
I find some sparkling water, near my hands,
clear and pellucid as a fresh raindrop.
Beneath the noodles, rice, and dark soy sauce
a can of water chestnuts, peeled and sliced,
is added to my shopping cart. Across
the aisle, milk chocolate is lightly priced
while near the checkout – still, supine and dead –
a woman in a face mask grips white bread.

About the Poem

It was Randall Jarrell who came up with the phrase, ‘A sad heart in the supermarket.’ This brief colour-coded Shakespearean sonnet responds to the recent mass shooting in a grocery store in Boulder. It is hard not to be sad.

About the Author

Conor Kelly was born in Dublin and spent his adult life teaching in a school in the Dublin suburbs. He now lives in a rural area of West Clare in Ireland from where he manages his twitter site, @poemtoday, dedicated to the short poem. He has had poems printed in Irish, British, American and Mexican magazines. He was shortlisted for a Hennessy New Irish Writers award. At the ceremony one of the judges, Fay Weldon, asked him, “Where are you in these poems?” He is still asking himself that same question.

1 thought on “Observations in a Supermarket”

  1. It is hard not to be sad. Hard to comprehend how something so innocent as buying milk can be so dangerous. I wish it were a point in time, but it keeps repeating itself. Thanks for sharing your words.

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