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.
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.